Despite the critical importance of the MCHB's primary proposed goal "to reduce fatal and nonfatal child maltreatment" non-empirically supported parenting skills classes remain the
treatment consistently recommended by agencies to prevent maltreatment. Fewer than 10% of 20+ centers in the Bronx (location of proposed work) advertised in a city directory under parent skills training were able to identify adherence to a specific curriculum during a recent phone survey. Thus the vast majority of treatment received by at risk families is well-intentioned but unproven.
Our overall goal is in line with the MCHB Strategic Research Issue #IV by promoting the
healthy development of mothers, fathers and their children. The intervention is designed to
enhance coping and resilience by improving the quality of the parent-child relationship. The
project addresses major goals of Healthy People 2020 for prevention of child maltreatment and the promotion of a secure parent child relationship.
This proposed MCHB R40 project will conduct a pragmatic clinical trial (PCT) testing the
effectiveness of two tertiary prevention interventions for families with young children aged 2-36 months at risk for maltreatment. One hundred at risk families, referred from child welfare,
family court, primary care, and preventive agencies will be randomly assigned to: 1) Group
Attachment Based Intervention: (GABI) a interactive parent-child treatment which has been
used to treat over 100 families alongside their young children in NYC or 2) "treatment as
usual": parents -only parenting s kills c las s es . Both groups will be assessed at baseline,
end of treatment and at 6 months follow up.
Aim 1: Test whether a parent-child group attachment intervention is associated
with improved child, parent, and parent-child related outcomes.
Outcome Hypotheses, GABI will be associated with:
1) Child Outcomes - less exposure to trauma, less incidence of maltreatment, and
improved social-emotional and cognitive development.
2) Parent Outcomes - improved social support, mental health, and decreased stress.
3) Parent-child Outcomes - decreases in child-parent disorganized attachment.
Aim 2: Translate and disseminate research findings to inform policy makers of
effectiveness of practices to prevent child maltreatment.
In addition to parent representatives, an Advisory Panel made up of city and state
pediatricians, psychologists, lawyers and policy makers will convene to determine a) if
results warrant replication, b) if so, how to translate to settings and locales that would
provide sufficient evidence for a large-scale adoption of GABI as a treatment modality to
prevent maltreatment in babies and toddlers.
Parent-Child Relationship, Maltreatment, Social & Emotional
Development, Violence & Abuse