Evaluating a family-focused intervention in Jordan


While there is growing evidence of the positive impact of psychosocial support in conflict and humanitarian emergencies, there is relatively little focus on child and adolescent mental health in these contexts. And while important work is being done with children and parents on an individual level, few programmers approach complex family challenges as a whole – making it very difficult for families to get back on track. For this reason,  War Child is developing a comprehensive intervention to support vulnerable families to function better, feel stronger, and ultimately offer a nurturing environment for their children. Addressing the family as a system of support, the aim is to ensure that all members work together as a powerful protective unit – with more positive interactions and less conflict.

Study Design

Feasibility trial


Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi families


Urban setting with large refugee population in Amman, Jordan

In humanitarian crises, children and their caregivers face complex stressors such as displacement, poverty,  and increased violence in the community and at home. These pressures often strain family relationships, and can impact caregivers’ ability to provide responsive and effective parenting, bearing heavily on children’s mental health and wellbeing. Programs working at the individual, child, or parent level – while important – fail to address these complex family challenges. 

Nurturing Families considers the impact of both the broader family and the context in which they live. The program takes a whole-family approach to promote a shared understanding of individual challenges, strengths, and goals. Through joint sessions with a trained non-specialist facilitator, family members develop problem-solving and conflict-management skills and learn how to regulate their emotions and support one another.

The program is currently being piloted in conflict-affected communities in the Al Hashmi Area of Amman in Jordan. A core-family focused module is currently being developed and tested with partners in north Beta and the Tripoli region in Lebanon.

"The family system impacts powerfully on children and adults. Our goal is to develop a program that helps strengthen family systems, enabling them to support one another and improve overall mental health and well-being.
Dr Felicity Brown, Senior Researcher

Mark Jordans, PhD
Director of Research and Development
War Child Holland

Felicity Brown, PhD
Senior Researcher – Middle East Region
War Child Holland

Alexandra C.E. Bleile, MA
War Child Holland