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Project SafeCare: Improving Health, Safety, and Parenting Skills in Families Reported for, and At-Risk for Child Maltreatment

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 377-386
Ronit M. Gershater-Molko; John R. Lutzker; David Wesch
Date Published
December 2003
10 pages
This study examined the aggregate of pre-post differences in the three training components of Project SafeCare, which was a 4-year, in-home, research and intervention program that provided parent training to families of children at risk for maltreatment, as well as families of child victims of maltreatment.
Parents were trained in treating children's illnesses and maximizing their own health-care skills (health component), in positive and effective parent-child interaction skills (parenting component), and in maintaining low-hazard homes (safety component). The three training components of the project were generally taught sequentially, beginning with health training, followed by safety training, and then parenting training. Of the 266 initial referrals, 80 families completed training in health care skills; 52 of the 80 families completed the safety training component; and 41 of the 80 families completed parent-child interactions training. The entire program was designed to last approximately 24 weeks. In the evaluation study, the dependent variables for health training were the change in parents' scores on the role-play scenarios and quizzes from the beginning to the end of the project. The dependent variables for the safety and parenting components were the parents' scores on the Home Accident Prevention Inventory and on the parent-child/parent-infant interaction measures. The evaluation found that each intervention was highly effective in improving parenting skills, child health-care skills, and the safety of the homes for the children of the maltreating families who completed the components. Social validation data indicate that parents were satisfied with the services. Of concern, however, was the fact that of the 266 initial referrals to the program, only a small percentage completed participation in the program. This indicates the need for addressing issues of enrollment and retention of families in services, as well as taking into account cultural diversity and the needs and preferences of the target population when planning an intervention program. 6 tables and 41 references