Parenting schools in every local community

UNICEF and EU are calling for national and local authorities to scale-up the internationally renowned Caring Families programme, successfully piloted in five Montenegrin municipalities since 2018, to cover the entire country

UNICEF Montenegro
Daughter running to hug her father
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2014
22 June 2021

PODGORICA, 22 JUNE 2021 – On the occasion of Global Parenting Month, celebrated in June, UNICEF and EU are calling for the scaling-up of the internationally renowned Caring Families programme to cover the entire country. So far, it has been successfully piloted in five municipalities in Montenegro by primary healthcare centres, public preschools and civil society organizations, with UNICEF and EU support since 2018.

UNICEF Montenegro

Almost 500 parents of children aged 2–9 years from Podgorica, Nikšić, Bijelo Polje, Berane and Cetinje have participated in the programme so far. According to Biljana Bešović, a mother who attended this parenting programme, its benefits are enormous.

I am now familiar with various techniques I was not aware of before, which are helping me to redirect or change some of the undesired behaviour in my children. There is a much better atmosphere in the house, which prompted my husband to apply and to go through the programme himself

Biljana Bešović, a mother who attended this parenting programme

The average rating that parents gave to the programme was 4.74 out of 5, which testifies to their high level of satisfaction. Every participant said that they would recommend the programme to a friend or a relative. Moreover, this programme’s evaluation found an overall 70% reduction in harsh and abusive parenting, and significant reductions in child behaviour problems (31%) and parental depression (45%).

Being a parent is a lifetime responsibility and a very difficult job. We often resolve situations in the family more easily after speaking to another parent or a professional. For these reasons, based on the success of this parenting programme in Montenegro, UNICEF will support the national and local authorities to develop a clear vision and strategy to provide parenting schools in every municipality.

Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro Representative

The programme was piloted in response to a nationally representative survey conducted with parents in Montenegro in December 2016, in which 77 per cent of them said that the state should support parents to raise children in the best ways possible. Also, this initiative is in line with Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which emphasizes the responsibility of all states to support parents in raising children and, especially, to help them do so without the use of violence.

According to Hermann Spitz from the EU Delegation to Montenegro, the introduction of the parenting programme in Montenegro was a great step forward in providing assistance to parents in their caregiving role. Initiatives such as this one empower parents to be better parents, and the benefits of positive parenting are wide-ranging.

Significant progress has been made in the implementation of the Caring Families programme in five municipalities since 2018.  It is therefore important to consider extending the programme by scaling up support to parents and caregivers in Montenegro for the benefit of their children.

Hermann Spitz from the EU Delegation to Montenegro

The Caring Families programme, implemented with the support of UNICEF and the EU in Montenegro, has been developed and previously tested in many countries around the world through cooperation between the WHO, UNICEF, Cape Town University and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and Oxford University and Bangor University in Great Britain. In addition to Montenegro, this programme is also being implemented in Europe in the Czech Republic, Northern Macedonia, Moldova and Romania.