This R34 (PA-09-146) study is designed to evaluate the feasibility of disseminating an evidence- based, self? directed, family focused, substance abuse prevention program (Staying Connected with Your Teen) within the foster care system. A history of being in foster care has been found to be associated with a host of adverse outcomes and behaviors that increase the risk for HIV both during adolescence and into adulthood (Barth, 1990;D'Angelo et al., 2006;Hussey et al., 2006). Staying Connected with Your Teen (SCT) is a family-based, self-directed intervention to prevent substance use, risky sexual behavior, and violence during adolescence that has shown long-term (2-year) effects in reducing initiation into drug use and risky sexual activity, and has reduced the frequency of violent behaviors, especially among low-income African American teens (Haggerty et al., 2007). This proposed study is designed to build capacity within three Children?s Services Administration regions in Washington State to adapt and implement this evidence-based prevention program. This study is unique in that it employs a theoretical model of behavior development (Catalano &Hawkins, 1996) with a process for adapting and implementing a tested and efficacious drug abuse prevention program with kinship care and non-relative foster care families (Wingood &DiClemente, 2008). This 3-year feasibility study will 1) use Wingwood &DiClimente?s (2008) ADAPT-ITT method of adapting evidence-based HIV interventions, to document and augment the SCT intervention for foster families, 2) identify and evaluate barriers and enablers to successful implementation, and 3) use a small, randomized waitlist control pilot study to evaluate the impact of the program on key proximal family outcomes with foster care families. The ADAPT-IT process and the small randomized control pilot will be used to build capacity for conducting self-directed family programs among foster families with teens to reduce substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors. This proposal focuses on collaborating with child welfare practitioners and foster caregivers to identify the specific needs and unique implementation issues encountered in administering this evidence-based, selfdirected intervention to foster families in the child welfare system. It brings together two research groups, Social Development Research Group, which has developed and tested the efficacy of a number of prevention programs, with Partners for Our Children, a foster care research group. We expect that this collaborative evaluation of the feasibility of integrating substance abuse prevention into kinship care and non-relative foster care will set the stage for a future comparative trial with more intensive foster care drug abuse prevention parenting programs. This study will explore the feasibility of disseminating a self-directed substance abuse prevention program through the foster care system, and will generate valuable knowledge about adaptations, barriers, and enablers to effective implementation.

Public Health Relevance

This study will use ADAPT-ITT, a method of adapting evidence-based HIV interventions, to, provide valuable knowledge about adaptations, barriers, and enablers to effective dissemination of an evidence based family substance abuse and HIV prevention program with foster families. Few experimental studies have been conducted with this vulnerable population;this feasibility study will provide the foundation for further research to reduce risk of substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors among foster care youth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Planning Grant (R34)
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Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
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Sims, Belinda E
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University of Washington
Schools of Social Work
United States
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Haggerty, Kevin P; Barkan, Susan E; Skinner, Martie et al. (2016) Feasibility of Connecting, a Substance-Abuse Prevention Program for Foster Teens and their Caregivers. J Soc Social Work Res 7:639-659
Barkan, Susan E; Salazar, Amy M; Estep, Kara et al. (2014) Adapting an evidence based parenting program for child welfare involved teens and their caregivers. Child Youth Serv Rev 41:53-61
Storer, Heather L; Barkan, Susan E; Stenhouse, Linnea L et al. (2014) In search of connection: The foster youth and caregiver relationship. Child Youth Serv Rev 42:110-117
Storer, Heather L; Barkan, Susan E; Sherman, Emma L et al. (2012) Promoting Relationship Building and Connection: Adapting an Evidence-Based Parenting Program for Families Involved in the Child Welfare System. Child Youth Serv Rev 34: