The effective child & family -interventions: Let´s talk about Children -discussion

Tytöt iloisina.


Delivery of the intervention: Individual-/family-based

Aim of the intervention: Let´s talk about Children –intervention aims to strengthen the safety in child’s everyday life at home, school and daycare. The intervention enchances parenting, thereby supporting the child’s development and preventing the formation of problems.

Description of the intervention: The intervention is targeted at child families where parent(s) has problems that are reflected in parenting, particularly mental health problems. Let´s talk about Children –discussion is a part of the Effective Child & Family –interventions. Research-based knowledge of the child development and the risk that parent’s mental health problems impose on it have impacted on the development of the intervention (Beardslee & Podorefsky 1988; Beardslee ym. 1997). The Effective Child & Family –interventions are based on the theory of child development as a part of different development environments (Solantaus & Niemelä 2016). The intervention consists of 1–3 meetings with the parents, which are structured and based on the Let´s talk about Children –manual but the contents of the meetings are tailored according to the family’s unique situation. The family situation, the child’s development and strengths as well as the impact of the parent’s mental health problem are discussed thoroughly in the meetings. After the intervention, a Let´s talk about Children conference with the networks around the child is organized, if needed. The intervention has been used in Finland also in early education and in primary school as a method in cooperation between home and school as well as in the child and family work of the Criminal Sanctions Agency.

Availability of the intervention in Finland: Training for the Let´s talk about Children –discussion is a part of the Effective Child & Family method training. The training is targeted at those working with child families, but especially for the social and health care professionals. Material and Let´s talk about Children –discussion manual are included in the training. In Finland, the intervention is used in the primary and secondary social and health care services, early education and primary schools. Exact information on the regional availability of the intervention is not available.

Research- and evidence-based efficacy of the intervention: The intervention has been studied in Finland regarding its applicability to the Finnish service system (Solantaus et al. 2009). There is also a randomized study on the effectiveness of Let´s talk about Children –discussion and –family intervention on children’s emotions and behavior (Punamäki et al. 2013). In the follow-ups of the studies the intervention was found to have positive effects on children, reducing their emotional problems and anxiety and increasing their social behavior. The limitations of the studies have been the drop-outs and reliability (Punamäki et al. 2013) and a missing control group. Furthermore, the effect sizes have not been reported (Solantaus et al. 2009). There is moderate research-based evidence of effectiveness in Finland.


  • Beardslee, W. R. & Podorefsky, D. (1988). Resilient adolescents whose parents have serious affective and other psychiatric disorders: Importance of self-understanding and relationships. American Journal of Psychiatry, 145(1), 63–69.
  • Beardslee, W., Salt, P., Versage, E., Gladstone, T., Wright, E. & Rothberg, P. (1997). Sustained change in parents receiving preventive interventions for families with depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 510–515.
  • Punamäki, R-L., Paavonen, J., Toikka, S. & Solantaus, T. (2013). Effectiveness of preventive intervention in improving cognitive attributions among children of depressed parents: A randomized study. Journal of Family Psychology 27, 683–690.
  • Solantaus, T., Toikka, S., Alasuutari, M., Beardslee, W. R. & Paavonen, E. J. (2009). Safety, feasibility and family experiences of preventive interventions for children and families with parental depression. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 11, 15–24.
  • Solantaus, T. & Niemelä, M. (2016). Arki kantaa – kun se pannaan kantamaan. Perheterapia, 1, 21–33.