In 2007, there were approximately 794,000 substantiated cases of Child Maltreatment (CM). Survey data suggests that actual rates of maltreatment are much higher, with approximately 1 in 7 youth reporting maltreatment in childhood or adolescence. CM disproportionately affects the poor, disabled children, singleparent households, and certain minority groups. The SafeCare program is an empirically-supported behavioral parent training that focuses on prevention of physical abuse and neglect for children in the highest risk age group, those 0-5 years of age. The majority of research evaluating the effectiveness of SafeCare has focused on mothers. However, national data indicate that fathers are involved in 36% of substantiated cases of maltreatment annually. We propose to augment and adapt SafeCare for fathers, and to examine the effectiveness of the intervention for improving child maltreatment-related outcomes with atrisk fathers (young, poor, low education attainment, African American). During the first year, we will engage in a development phase during which we will augment the SafeCare model with Motivational Interviewing (Ml) techniques, an evidence-based method for motivating behavior change, which will be delivered through computer software. We will also adapt components of the SafeCare PCI module to be delivered through computer technology. The computer-assisted MI-PCI intervention will be validated, utilizing single-case design methodology, with 6 fathers. Once the adapted intervention is validated, we will randomly assign 120 fathers to either the MI-PCI intervention or a wait-list control group. Father participants will be assessed prior to MI-PCI, during intervention delivery, immediately post-intervention, and at 3 month follow-up. Primary outcomes of interest include father parenting behaviors, father child maltreatment risk, father-child interaction, and child behavioral outcomes. If MI-PCI is successful in reducing CM risk for fathers, the program could reach thousands of at-risk fathers through the National SafeCare Training and Research Center.
Thus, the potential impact ofthis project includes a reduction in CM perpetration and improved relationships among families for a large population, which will ultimately result in reduced heath disparities among children and adults in the United States.
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