ICDP – International Child Development Programme

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Delivery of the intervention: Group-based

Aim of the intervention: The aim of the ICDP is to increase sensitive interaction interaction between parent and child by strengthening the parents’ parenting skills. In the ICDP, the parents’ ability to hear and understand the thoughts expressed by the child is supported.

Description of the intervention: ICDP is a group-based structured intervention, which aims to increase the parenting skills of parents of 0–18 year-old children. The intervention lies on the attachment relationship and motivation theories, developmental and neuropsychology as well as on research-based knowledge on children’s learning. The groups gather 6–8 times in weekly meetings that are structured around a given theme. The meetings are divided in eight themes concerning parenting, upbringing skills and child development. The groups are instructed by 1–2 professionals who have received an ICDP-instructor training. Certain parts of the ICDP have been applied by education, social and health care professionals as a working method in child- and family-initiated work and ICDP-program training has been targeted at professionals in order for them to improve empathetic approach in their work.

Availability of the intervention in Finland: ICDP-instructor training is targeted for professionals working with children and families. ICDP-instructors and -trainers are provided with work supervision. ICDP-trainings are coordinated and organized by the ICDP Suomi Ry in Finland. The intervention has been developed in the University of Oslo and it has been adopted worldwide. In Finland, ICDP is used in the education and cultural services as well as in the social and health care, mainly in Western and Southwestern Finland.

Research- and evidence-based efficacy of the intervention: A Norwegian research compared the parenting skills and the child’s psychological wellbeing in the ICDP-intervention group (n = 141) and in the control group (n = 79) (Sherr et al. 2014), and continued the comparison in the 6–12-month follow-up study (Skar et al. 2015). Positive changes in the parenting skills and upbringing attitudes in the intervention group were found, also in the follow-up, but the effect sizes in the study were small. There is little evidence for the effectiveness of the ICDP on increasing parenting skills and positive upbringing attitudes among parents who participated in the ICDP intervention as compared to the parents in the control group.


  • Sherr, L., Skar, A-M., Clucas, C., von Tetzchner, S. & Hundeide, K. (2014). Evaluation of the International child development programme (ICDP) as a community-wide parenting programme. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 1, 1–17.
  • Skar, A-M. S., von Tetzchner, S., Clucas, C. & Sherr, L. (2015). The long-term effectiveness of the International child development programme (ICDP) implemented as a community-wide parenting programme. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12, 54–68.