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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.


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