The challenges for toddlers (2-3 year olds) in foster care straddle issues faced by infants and preschoolers. Similarly to infants in foster care, toddlers face significant challenges in forming new attachment relationships;similarly to preschoolers, they face challenges developing behavioral control. The attachment needs of these children are not addressed well by an exclusively social learning approach, and the needs for developing behavioral control are not addressed well by an exclusively attachment approach. This competing continuation R01 would assess the effectiveness of an intervention that targets these dual issues within the context of the child welfare system. Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up for Toddlers in Foster Care (ABC-T) was developed to help foster parents: provide nurturing care so that children develop secure, trusting relationships;and set reliable contingencies that enhance children's ability to regulate behavior and biology. This intervention's effectiveness will be assessed in a randomized clinical trial. Participants will include 220 young children between the ages of 24 and 36 months who are placed into foster care. Children will be randomly assigned to receive either the ABC-T intervention or a control intervention, Developmental Education for Families (DEF). Both interventions will consist of 10 sessions delivered in families'homes. Foster parents'behaviors and children's functioning will be assessed at pre- and post-intervention, and when children are 3-, 4-, and 5-years old through a variety of tasks. Foster parents receiving the ABC-T intervention are expected to provide more nurturing care and to set more reliable contingencies than foster parents receiving the DEF intervention. Children in the ABC-T intervention group are expected to show more secure attachments to caregivers than children in the DEF intervention, to show more normative production of cortisol, to show fewer behavior problems, and to show lower incidence of DSM IV-R disorders, including most especially Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder, than children in the DEF intervention group.

Public Health Relevance

Toddlers in the foster care system face unique challenges of forming attachments to new caregivers while learning to control their behavior. However, there are few evidence-based programs that address these issues. Specialized mental health services that specifically target the needs of these children will be assessed in this study.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01MH052135-14
Application #
8399732
Study Section
Mental Health Services in Non-Specialty Settings (SRNS)
Program Officer
Goldstein, Amy B
Project Start
1996-05-01
Project End
2014-12-31
Budget Start
2013-01-01
Budget End
2013-12-31
Support Year
14
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$530,451
Indirect Cost
$183,751
Name
University of Delaware
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
059007500
City
Newark
State
DE
Country
United States
Zip Code
19716
Caron, E B; Weston-Lee, Patria; Haggerty, Danielle et al. (2016) Community implementation outcomes of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up. Child Abuse Negl 53:128-37
Bernard, Kristin; Simons, Robert; Dozier, Mary (2015) Effects of an Attachment-Based Intervention on Child Protective Services--Referred Mothers' Event-Related Potentials to Children's Emotions. Child Dev 86:1673-84
Lo, Albert; Roben, Caroline K P; Maier, Collin et al. (2015) ""I Want to be There When He Graduates:"" Foster Parents Show Higher Levels of Commitment than Group Care Providers. Child Youth Serv Rev 51:95-100
Bernard, Kristin; Peloso, Elizabeth; Laurenceau, Jean-Philippe et al. (2015) Examining change in cortisol patterns during the 10-week transition to a new child-care setting. Child Dev 86:456-71
Bernard, Kristin; Hostinar, Camelia E; Dozier, Mary (2015) Intervention effects on diurnal cortisol rhythms of Child Protective Services-referred infants in early childhood: preschool follow-up results of a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatr 169:112-9
Bernard, Kristin; Dozier, Mary; Bick, Johanna et al. (2015) Intervening to enhance cortisol regulation among children at risk for neglect: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Dev Psychopathol 27:829-41
Meade, E B; Dozier, Mary; Bernard, Kristin (2014) Using video feedback as a tool in training parent coaches: promising results from a single-subject design. Attach Hum Dev 16:356-70
Lind, Teresa; Bernard, Kristin; Ross, Emily et al. (2014) Intervention effects on negative affect of CPS-referred children: results of a randomized clinical trial. Child Abuse Negl 38:1459-67
Dozier, Mary; Zeanah, Charles H; Bernard, Kristin (2013) Infants and Toddlers in Foster Care. Child Dev Perspect 7:166-171
Bernard, Kristin; Meade, E B; Dozier, Mary (2013) Parental synchrony and nurturance as targets in an attachment based intervention: building upon Mary Ainsworth's insights about mother-infant interaction. Attach Hum Dev 15:507-23

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