There is increasing enthusiasm, both in government and in the community, for improving child outcomes through parenting programmes. However, many programmes have failed to work when rigorously tested. This study examines factors which influence programme effectiveness in poor, ethnically diverse areas. "What makes parenting programmes work in disadvantaged areas?" reports on the proportion of families who enrol in parenting programmes, and addresses the issue of universal provision versus targeted provision for those at risk of not doing well. It examines whether programmes developed in western cultures can work for families from minority ethnic backgrounds. It explores whether a popular programme can change sensitive responding by parents, a crucial attribute for promoting secure attachment. The report sets out a series of hard-hitting conclusions on the best way to reach those in need.