Introduction Making change towards child and family-based and coordinated services is critical to improve quality, outcomes and value. The Let’s Talk about Children (LTC) approach, which consists of brief psychoeducational discussions with parents of kindergarten-aged and school-aged children, has been launched as a municipality-specific programme in the Council of Oulu Region. The aim of this paper is to present a protocol of an ecological study evaluating the group-specific effects of an intervention about LTC activities in a geographically defined population. The programme is designed to promote children’s socioemotional well-being.
Methods and analysis A quasi-experimental ecological study protocol is implemented to evaluate whether systematic LTC practices improve children’s well-being. A multi-informant setting covers 30 municipalities in northern Finland and involves all the municipal teachers, social and healthcare workers. In each municipality, a Local Management Team is responsible for implementing the LTC programme and collecting the annual data of LTC discussions and network meetings. The outcome data are retrieved from child welfare statistics and hospital registers. The population data, child welfare statistics and referrals to hospitals was retrieved at baseline (2014), and will be retrieved annually. Furthermore, the annual data of LTC discussions and network meetings will be collected of the years 2015–2018.
Ethics and dissemination The study design has been approved by the management of the Oulu University Hospital in accordance with the guidelines given by The Regional Ethics Committee of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District in Oulu, Finland. All data are treated and implemented according to national data security laws. Study findings will be disseminated to provincial and municipal partners, collaborative community groups and the research and development community. The Let’s Talk about Children Evaluation study databases will guide future regional development action and policies.
- Community-level Intervention
- Ecologic Study
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Contributors VK and JJ obtained funding for the study. JJ further developed the intervention. VK designed the ecological part of the study. HE and AP contributed to the study design. VK wrote this paper. All authors drafted and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding The Oulu University Hospital received approximately €250 000 funding for the implementation of LTC services from the member municipalities of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and the Council of Oulu Region (European Regional Development Fund). The LTCE study is also funded by the Government Research Funding of Finland. The study protocol was peer reviewed as part of the funding process by the Research Committee of Oulu University Hospital catchment area. The funding body played no role in the study design, data collection or the data interpretation of the written manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board approval was obtained from the Director of Medical Services and it conforms to regulatory norms in Finland.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.