The overall aim of the process evaluation is to determine whether and how the PIEC program has improved outcomes for children, and the extent to which the model has contributed to improvements in these outcomes.
Interviews with EEC staff in each site covered: knowledge of aims and objectives of the PIEC program; changes in processes as a result of the program; barriers and difficulties to implementation; and perceived impact of the PIEC program.
This paper draws on interviews with key personnel and staff to explore the following question: given that PIEC is an attempt to improve the quality of EEC service provided to vulnerable children, what lessons can be drawn from its implementation?
PIEC is of interest for a number of reasons, among them the sustainability of interventions for vulnerable families in the prior-to-school years.
Evaluation informants also reported that PIEC took up time for EEC staff and directors: in training, meetings, sessions for reflections on practice and supervision and so on.
Evaluation informants cited, as common concerns, limited time available for PIEC workers to talk to staff, and for staff to step back and reflect on the information provided by PIEC workers.
PIEC adopts training, resources and staff supervision models from the Circle of Security intervention (Marvin, Cooper, Hoffman & Powell, 2002), which incorporates the concepts of a 'secure base' and a 'haven of safety' (Ainsworth et al.
In some cases PIEC staff worked quite intensively with parents, including home visits.
The PIEC theory of change is that building staff capacity and encouraging them to think about child behaviour in terms of social and emotional need will lead to staff being more predictable and emotionally available.
This paper describes the facilitators and barriers to the implementation of PIEC, with a focus on the nature of the partnership and program management; implementation; facilitators and barriers to change; and perceived changes and benefits of the program.
As described above, PIEC is an innovative model involving new relationships between children's services providers from local government and not-for-profit organisations, the Benevolent Society, and EEC directors and staff.