Healthy & Safe

About This Program

Target Population: Parents with learning difficulties who are the main caregivers of a child less than five years old

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 4

Program Overview

Healthy & Safe. An Australian Parent Education Kit is a home-based education resource tailored to the unique learning needs of parents with learning difficulties. It is designed to equip these parents who have young children with the knowledge and skills necessary for managing home dangers, accidents, and childhood illness.

Healthy & Safe was adapted from the UCLA Parent-Child Health and Wellness Program developed by Alexander Tymchuk (Tymchuk, A. J. (2006). The health & wellness program: A parenting curriculum for families at risk. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company) and has been widely disseminated as a part of the Australian national strategy Healthy Start. Healthy Start is a national capacity building strategy which aims to improve health and well-being outcomes for children whose parents have learning difficulties (

The Healthy & Safe kit provides lesson plans, modules, and parent workbooks covering 6 health and 13 home safety topics including recognizing when your child is sick, calling the doctor, using medicines safely, identifying dangerous objects in the home, and developing a home safety plan.

Program Goals

The goals of Healthy & Safe are:

  • Improved parent understanding of health and symptoms of illness
  • Improved parent understanding of and skills to manage home dangers and prevent accidents and injury
  • Improved parent knowledge of and skills needed to recognize and respond in an appropriate and timely way to illness and emergencies
  • Improved parent knowledge about visiting the doctor, knowing when to call, what information to provide, and what questions to ask
  • Improved parent understanding of how to use medicines safely

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Healthy & Safe.

Essential Components

The essential components of Healthy & Safe include:

  • Guiding principles:
    • Program takes an ecological approach by considering family context. Teaching is sensitive and respectful of the learning environment (i.e., typically the family's own home).
    • Program is specific to the needs and desires of the individual parent and their family.
    • Parent educator and parent work as a team on parent-identified needs and priorities.
    • Program is strengths-based. Parent educator assumes parents can and will learn.
    • Parent educator develops a good rapport prior to beginning lessons, displays genuine ongoing interest in the family and uses examples from the family's daily life when teaching.
  • Teaching:
    • Teaching occurs where the skills are required to be used, therefore most often in the home.
    • Parent educators use behavioral teaching strategies (e.g., role play and corrective feedback) that have evidence of effectiveness with parents with learning difficulties.
    • Parent educators use provided resources (e.g., lesson plans, workbooks, pictures) to guide parents through a scripted lesson addressing a particular topic.
    • Program is structured. Activities are practical, taught in sequential steps, explained simply, and repeated.
    • Parent educator selects appropriate level of lesson complexity (3 possible levels included in lesson plans) for each parent.
    • Together, the parent and parent educator decide whether they will systematically work through all the lessons or focus on the lessons that are most meaningful and relevant to the parent's circumstances.
    • Parent educator adapts teaching to the parent's individual learning style and pace.
    • Parent educator is prepared before each session (e.g., understands the topic, anticipates likely questions or difficulties, and has all relevant equipment available).
  • The program contains 6 health modules including:
    • Understanding Sickness & Health
    • Temperature & Breathing
    • The Doctor
    • Using Medicines Safely
    • Life Threatening Emergencies I
    • Life Threatening Emergencies II
  • The program contains 13 safety modules including:
    • Introduction to Home Safety
    • Fire Dangers & Precautions
    • Electrical Dangers & Precautions
    • Cooking Dangers & Precautions
    • Poisons Dangers & Precautions
    • Food Dangers & Precautions
    • Suffocation Dangers & Precautions
    • Heavy Objects Dangers & Precautions
    • Sharp Objects Dangers & Precautions
    • Dangerous Toys & Precautions
    • Animals Dangers & Precautions
    • Clutter Dangers & Precautions
    • Outside & General Dangers and Precautions

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Healthy & Safe directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Learning difficulties and parent of a young child
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Parent educators are encouraged to engage significant others in the program, as agreed by the parent. Others can actively participate in sessions or may be engaged to reinforce parent learning in between sessions.

Recommended Intensity:

60- to 90-minute weekly visits

Recommended Duration:

At least 10 weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Foster / Kinship Care


Healthy & Safe includes a homework component:

Parents are encouraged to use the knowledge and apply the skills learned in lessons to their own situation. Each session involves a review at the end and parent completion of exercises using a Parent Workbook. This workbook, and review discussion, involves supporting the parent to find examples of how they can apply the lesson content to their own home (e.g., removing dangerous items from child's reach in their own kitchen). The parent is then encouraged by the parent educator to generalize this skill in between sessions (e.g., removing dangerous items from the bathroom).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

The capacity to print materials or to display program materials on-screen is necessary since the program manual and all resources are provided to trainees in a kit containing one DVD and one CD. Note that the program is to be delivered in the parents own home thus a portable screening device may be required.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

The program is suitable for use by appropriately trained parent educators who currently, or in future, may work with parents with learning difficulties. There are no restrictions on who can attend training, although the training is best suited to those who have the capacity to work in a parent's own home, and assumes a good understanding of child health and developmental stages.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The Parenting Research Centre (Australia) offers consultation, training, coaching, and implementation support to agencies interested in incorporating this program into their service delivery. Training can be conducted at the centre, a community center, or an agency's own office. The initially essential 1-day training is delivered in a face-to-face group setting, but the following consultation and coaching can be (and usually is) provided over the phone or via internet teleconferencing.

Number of days/hours:

Parent educators must attend a 1-day training course in delivery of the program. Time required for additional support to implement the program will be decided throughout consultation process.

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Healthy & Safe.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Healthy & Safe as listed below:

The Parenting Research Centre (Australia) offers consultation, training, coaching and implementation support to agencies interested in incorporating Healthy & Safe into their service delivery. The type of support provided will be based on individual practice or organization needs. Implementation Support will likely involve a number of components, such as:

  • Consultation to determine how best to embed the program within an organization
  • Background reading and multiple choice assessment
  • One-day face-to-face training in a group setting
  • Coaching support delivered face-to-face or via teleconference
  • Technical assistance to support all aspects of the high fidelity implementation of the program

Please contact the program representative for more information (contact information can be found at bottom of the page).

Fidelity Measures

There are no fidelity measures for Healthy & Safe.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Healthy & Safe as listed below:

The manual includes 19 modules, each with its own lesson plan and parent workbook. There are also illustrations to use during lessons and two parent leaflets which can be used by parents to assist them when visiting the doctor or buying medications. The manual also includes a Parent Educator Guide with detailed information about the background to the program, and information on implementation of the program.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Healthy & Safe.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcomes: Safety and Child/Family Well-Being

Llewellyn, G., McConnell, D., Honey, A., Mayes, R., & Russo, D. (2003). Promoting health and home safety for children of parents with intellectual disability: A randomized controlled trial. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 24(6), 405–431.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 45


  • Age — 22–45 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 40 Female and 5 Male
  • Status — Participants were parents with intellectual disabilities.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of Home Learning Program (HLP) [now called Healthy & Safe], a home-based intervention targeted to parents with intellectual disability to promote child health and home safety in the preschool years. Participants were randomly allocated to one of four groups: HLP, current services only, lesson booklets only, or visits only. Measures utilized include the SF36 Personal Interview and eight other measures that were derived from the UCLA Parent-Child Health and Wellness Project. Results indicate that there were significant improvements in the intervention group in parents’ ability to learn, and also to remember and/or apply the knowledge and skills learned; significant gains in knowing when to call or visit the doctor, what information to provide, and what questions to ask; and significant gains in parent knowledge of how to use medicines safely including such items as following directions on the medication label and disposing of old medicines. Limitations include small sample size and lack of long-term follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

Additional References

Llewellyn, G., McConnell, D., Honey, A., Mayes, R., & Russo, D. (2003). Healthy & Safe. An Australian Parent Education Kit: Parent educator guide. Sydney: Australian Family and Disability Studies Research Collaboration, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney.

Llewellyn, G., McConnell, D., Russo, D., Mayes, R., & Honey, A. (2002). Home-based programmes for parents with intellectual disabilities: Lessons from practice. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 15, 341-353.

Wade, C., Llewellyn, G., & Matthews, J. (2008). Review of parent training interventions for parents with intellectual disability. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21, 351-366.

Contact Information

Catherine Wade, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Parenting Research Centre
Phone: +61 3 8660 3500
Fax: + 61 3 8660 3599

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: November 2022

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2019

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2014