Our proposed study tests a comprehensive approach to the promotion of school readiness in low-income families, beginning shortly after the birth of the child, through enhancement of positive parenting practices (and when present, reduction of psychosocial stressors) within the pediatric primary care platform. We do so by integrating two evidence-based interventions: 1) a universal primary prevention strategy (Video Interaction Project [VIP]); 1, 2 and 2) a targeted secondary/tertiary prevention strategy (Family Check-up [FCU]) 3 for families with infants/toddlers identified as having additional risks. VIP provides parents with a developmental specialist who videotapes the parent and child and coaches the parent on effective parenting practices at each pediatric primary care visit. FCU is a home-based, family-centered intervention that utilizes an initial ecologically- focused assessment to promote motivation for parents to change child-rearing behaviors, with follow-up sessions on parenting and factors that compromise parenting quality. Two primary care settings serving low-income communities in New York City, NY and Pittsburgh, PA will be utilized to test our integrated intervention in hospital-based clinics, providing information about translation across venues where one of the two interventions has been previously used alone. Also, we will leverage the practice network developed by an initiative known as Reach Out and Read (ROR), 4 providing an infrastructure for later dissemination. We plan to test the VIP/FCU model in a randomized trial of 500 families (200 to VIP/FCU, 200 to routine care, 100 to VIP alone) utilizing parent surveys, observational data on parent-child interactions, and direct assessments of children's development, at key points during intervention follow-up. Analyses will address questions of program impact for the integrated program across all families and by key subgroups, and the added value of FCU to VIP. The largest single contribution made by this study is to test whether an integrated primary and secondary/tertiary prevention strategy implemented in pediatric primary care can produce impacts on early school readiness outcomes, including social-emotional, pre-academic, and self-regulation. As such, this study has the potential to provide the scientific and practice communities with information about an innovative approach to promoting school readiness skills among low-income children.

Public Health Relevance

Our proposed study tests an innovative primary and secondary/tertiary prevention approach to the promotion of school readiness in very young children in low-income families, through enhancement of positive parenting practices and when present, reduction of the impact of psychosocial stressors, within the pediatric primary care platform. We do so by integrating two evidence-based programs in a rigorous test of program efficacy. To the extent that the model shows large impacts relative to standard primary care, the significance for public health is large, with the potential for widespread dissemination of this innovative approach to the promotion of school readiness.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Griffin, James
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New York University
Social Sciences
Schools of Education
New York
United States
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Cates, Carolyn Brockmeyer; Weisleder, Adriana; Mendelsohn, Alan L (2016) Mitigating the Effects of Family Poverty on Early Child Development through Parenting Interventions in Primary Care. Acad Pediatr 16:S112-20
Shaw, Daniel S; Shelleby, Elizabeth C (2014) Early-starting conduct problems: intersection of conduct problems and poverty. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 10:503-28