Cultivating wellbeing by empowering families: Establishing evidence for and impact of the Now and Next Program

Project Lead

Associate Professor Peggy Kern

Project Details

Current policies and programs for disability care often rely on reactive, treatment-based, expert-provided services. Additional benefit may arise from proactive approaches that place parents at the centre of care.

The ‘Now and Next’ project is an evidenced-informed program that fosters empowerment, agency, and wellbeing for the family as a whole. Results to date suggest that parent capacity building can successfully be delivered early in a family’s experience, with high levels of engagement by both mothers and fathers.

The program helps parents successfully return to work, and has positive impacts on the health, wellbeing, and trajectory of the child and family. However, to impact upon disability policy, further evaluation of the immediate impact of the program, consideration of mechanisms, comparison with standard approaches to care, testing of longer-term effects, and examination of sustainability and scalability of the program are needed. This application seeks seed funding to launch an inter-disciplinary, collaborative longitudinal impact study, with the intention of informing proactive policies and approaches to early childhood disability care.


Associate Professor Peggy Kern


Melbourne Disability Institute