upbringing it would be necessary to make changes in the family,
the family being the immediate environment of the child's
life. Secondly, attitudes towards child rearing are usually
related to family norms and standards. Exclusive focus on
education may not bring about changes in these deeply entrenched
values and it requires a more in depth intervention. Thirdly,
the past experience of failures of several child care programmes
has taught us the importance of focusing on family and maternal
well being as an adjunct to optimal child development.
The aim of the family intervention was to decrease the risk
factors and improve well being of the members, specially the
mother, the locus of the intervention being the child's home
and the modus through simple family counselling techniques.
The mode of intervention is most important, in that, it involves
active participation of the worker and the members of the
family, identifying and using family resources and intervention
through problem solving techniques. The idea is to bring about
change without being intrusive and by enhancing the existing
positive resources in the family.
The study was conducted using a group of identified high
risk families where intervention was done and simultaneous
identification of a control group, where no specific family
intervention was made. The sample was taken from an urban
slum and a rural area. Process and outcome indicators were
used to assess the impact of this intervention and appropriate
comparisons made between the experimental and control groups.
The study emphasises and assesses the importance and feasibility
of family intervention by basic health workers as part of
primary care and its impact on child developmental status.
It remains to be seen how the current programme can be used
universally and whether it can be extrapolated to other health
care programmes. Child health has come a long way over the
last two decades and the family intervention approach for
adequate psychosocial development seems a major headway in
one of the most important programmes of primary care.