After a comprehensive methodology review in 2018-2019, KidsXpress has implemented the review’s key research learnings to create the following new program model, launched in January 2020.
This new model reflects internationally evidenced best practice in supporting children’s mental health and our partnerships with schools will help to drive systemic and cultural change where it is needed the most.
Our program is operational at our centre in Macquarie Park as well two partner schools, Braddock Public School in Cranebrook and Hampden Park Public School in Lakemba.
The KidsXpress program model is a first in Australia and we will continue to measure and monitor the program learnings and impact. We will be sharing this data as it is collected.
KidsXpress works to transform some of society’s most vulnerable members, intervening early to improve children’s emotional wellbeing, potentially breaking a cycle of trauma, and giving children a better chance to achieve their potential.
The sorts of changes we see in children completing our program can transform their young lives – and these changes ripple through children’s families, classrooms and beyond into the wider community.
In June 2015 KidsXpress embarked upon an extensive research project to collect evidence to demonstrate the outcomes and impact of the unique KidsXpress group therapy program.
KidsXpress explored the impact of its program on the personal and interpersonal development of clients, recognising the interconnection of the two. Measures were devised to track the development of group and individual change via multiple points of collection across the program. A mixed-method approach was employed for this research investigation. Pre- and post- quantitative measures of children’s psychosocial well-being were complemented with qualitative responses from Parents/Carers and Therapist session notes.
Psychosocial well-being was measured through conferred therapist ratings at the start of the program. Subsequent weekly ratings were recorded for both group and individual scales. Group development was scored using MacKenzie’s (1983) Group Climate Questionnaire – a widely utilised and validated measure of group development. Individual functioning was also measured on a 7-point Likert scale, which quantifies eight key transformation Indicators (KTI) of psychosocial well-being: (A) Self-awareness; (B) Expression of feelings & emotions; (C) Connection to others; (D) Recognition of self impacting others; (E) Understanding others; (F) Self-regulation; (G) Receptive communication; (H) Ability to work in a group. Parents/Carers and Referrers completed written questionnaires either online or by hand. These tools measured Parents/Carers’ perceptions of change in their children’s well-being, behaviour, emotional expression and social functioning.
This study comprised 126 participants in the age range of 4-12 years of age. Informed consent and pre-therapy assessment was achieved for all 126 participants. Mean age of participants was 9.4 years. 59.5% were male and 40.5% were female.
Group and Individual Development
Pre and post transformation indicators indicate a positive change in all of the eight individual indicators of well-being, with an average positive change of 0.625 (p=>0.05).
Group data demonstrates significant change on the Engagement and Avoidance scales. Conflict decreases but not significantly. MacKenzie (1983) indicated that social development does not require Engagement and Conflict to be oppositional, suggesting groups may be engaged and in conflict concomitantly.
Parents/Carers completed measures pre and post- therapy, and also provided qualitative feedback. Outcomes reported by Parents/Carers include: Enhanced Family Happiness; Improved Family Communication; Better Emotional Well-being.
The detailed analysis of the findings suggests that participation in the Co-Led Group Expressive Therapy Program leads to wide-reaching positive outcomes for psychosocial well-being. These findings corroborate the independent efficacy study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics (2015), which found significant enhancements in children’s and families well-being as a result of participation in the KidsXpress therapeutic intervention.
MacKenzie, K. R. (1983). The clinical application of a Group Climate measure. In R. R. Dies and, K. R. MacKenzie (Eds.), Advances in group psychotherapy: Integrating research and practice, pp. 159-170. New York: International Universities Press.