Ongoing Studies

National SafeCare Training and Research Center
This grant establishes the National SafeCare Training and Research Center. Funds are provided to develop a train-the-trainer model for SafeCare, training, and generation of research protocols. PI: John R. Lutzker, Ph.D
Source: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation     Start Date: 8/1/2007     End Date: 9/1/2013
Implementing SafeCare to Prevent Child Maltreatment in Underserved Populations
This study is conducted in coordination with a statewide implementation of SafeCare in Georgia. NSTRC will train Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) staff to become SafeCare trainers and coaches. DHS staff will then train providers to implement the SafeCare model. With CDC funding, we will randomly assign DHS trainers to receive either the standard or an enhanced Train the Trainer protocol and will examine the impact on Coach and Home Visitor implementation of the SafeCare model and the impact on family engagement.  PI: Daniel J. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention     Start Date: 9/30/2008     End Date: 9/29/2013
Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Coaching Models for the SafeCare Program
This study will compare three methods of SafeCare coaching to test the impact on Home Visitor fidelity, family engagement and skill acquistion, and related costs. Specifically, we will compare purveyor (expert) coaching (conducted by NSTRC) to local coaching that is supported by the purveyor (NSTRC), and to local coaching that is supported by a second generation of SafeCare trainers that are not part of the purveyor group. The study will include 90 SafeCare providers at approximately 30 different agencies. Thirty agencies will be randomly assigned to implement SafeCare with direct purveyor coaching, local coaching with purveyor support (Local-P), or local coaching with support from a second generation SafeCare trainers (Local-2G). The findings will provide data on the most effective and efficient manner of conducting SafeCare coaching, and help other evidence-based practices in public health and child welfare bring research to practice. PI: Daniel J. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention      Start Date: 9/1/2009     End Date: 8/31/2013
Testing a Computer-Assisted Approach for Child Maltreatment Prevention with At-Risk Fathers
This study will use one of the few evidence-based programs that has demonstrated effectiveness in preventing both neglect and physical abuse--the SafeCare parenting program--with a sample of at-risk fathers. SafeCare modules have been validated with fathers and results have indicated improvements in targeted fathering behaviors. In this project, we will first engage in a development phase, in which we will iteratively modify the content and delivery of the SafeCare Parent-Child Interaction module (PCI) to improve the relevance of the program for fathers. Specifically, we plan to augment the SafeCare model with components of Motivational Interviewing (MI), an evidence-based method for motivating behavior change, and deliver MI along with components of PCI with the assistance of computer software. The adaptation will be developed and tested first using single-case design methodology, and then via a randomized trial including 120 at-risk fathers to allow for a comparison of the MI-PCI intervention to a wait-list control group. PI: Shannon Self-Brown, Ph.D.
Source: National Institute of Health      Start Date: 4/1/2013     End Date: 3/31/2015
Using Technology to Enhance SafeCare Training: Pilot Study
The goal of this study is to pilot test a hybrid Home Visitor training model that includes completion of a newly developed 8 hour web-course and an abbreviated face-to-face training of two days. We will enroll 12 participants. Each will complete the web-training course and evaluation measures, and the abbreviated two-day face-to-face training. Each will be followed for four months following training, and we will collect measures of fidelity to the SafeCare model via audio recorded sessions, and self-reported fidelity and efficacy to deliver SafeCare. PI: Daniel J. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Source:      Start Date: m/d/yyyy     End Date: m/d/yyyy
 Enhancing Safety and Well-Being of Children of Adult Drug Court Participants
This project will represent a collaborative effort between Georgia State University, DeKalb County Superior Court Drug Court, the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services, GA Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the DeKalb County Community Service Board, Lutheran Family Services, and the GA Center on Child Advocacy. The project will focus on adult drug court participants and their families. The DeKalb County Drug Court currently implements a menu of evidence based practices for a high-risk offender population including pre-service assessment and manualized curricula (e.g. relapse prevention, Moral Recognition Therapy, Thinking for a Change), random drug screening, and graduated sanctions and incentives, among other practices. Services for parents and their children is a logical and needed next step.Together, the project team will implement evidence-based parenting and trauma treatment for adult drug court participants and their children. Specific services to be implemented include the SafeCare® and Nurturing parenting models, and evidence –based trauma treatments for adults and children. Adult participants and families will be assessed for service needs, and family-based services will be delivered in an integrated manner by DFCS- and DBHDD-supported providers with staffing at the DeKalb County Drug Court to ensure coordination and collaboration between partners. The evaluation plan includes the collection of process, treatment, and outcome data. Process measures will include the number, dosage, and modalities of services offered across parenting, trauma, substance abuse, and criminogenic thinking domains. Client satisfaction surveys will also be conducted. Outcome measures will focus on both parental and child functioning, and child welfare outcomes regarding reporting to DFCS and family stability.  PI: Daniel J. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Source: Administration for Children and Families     Start Date: 9/30/2012     End Date: 9/29/2017
 Preventing Child Maltreatment Through Group and Individual Services
This project will be the first implementation of the group-based SafeCare curriculum. A total of 48 families will be served in two rural counties of Georgia, Polk and Haralson. Half of the families will receive group services, while the other half will receive standard in-home individual services. The group program comprise of a total of 15 sessions, 12 group and 3 in-home sessions. The main goal of this project is to document the acceptability and feasibility of group and how it compares to individual services.  PI: Jenelle Shanley, Ph.D.
Source: Georgia Governor's Office for Children & Families     Start Date: 10/1/2012     End Date: 12/31/2013
Understanding Barriers to Enrollment and Completion of Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth at Risk for Violence Perpetration and Victimization
The goal of this project is to better understand factors that interfere with treatment, enrollment and completion among youth who have experienced abuse and trauma and who are, therefore, at great risk for subsequent violence perpetration and/or revictimization. Dr. Self-Brown from Georgia State University is partnering with Dr. Kinnish at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, an Atlanta-based agency with a mission to champion the needs of abused children, to assess the impact of multiple intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual factors that may act and interact to facilitate or preclude traumatized children from receiving beneficial services. Specifically, 100 caregiver–child dyads, who are seen for a forensic interview and are recommended for treatment services, will be asked to participate in a 20-minute interview and complete a series of measures. Participating dyads will be tracked over a course of 4-6 months to assess therapeutic enrollment, engagement, and subsequent completion of treatment. Ultimately, these findings will inform intervention development for strategies to increase treatment enrollment and engagement for these at-risk youth. This pilot grant will be leveraged to apply for subsequent funding for research on engagement strategies. Co-PIs: Shannon Self-Brown, Ph.D. & Kelly Kinnish
Source: Georgia Center for Child Advocacy & SAMSHA        Start Date: 9/30/2012     End Date: 9/29/2016
Parents as Teachers (PAT) + SafeCare (PATSCH)
This grant supports the evaluation and dissemination of Parents as Teachers (PAT) + SafeCare to improve outcomes for high-risk families. This five year study is collaboration between the National SafeCare training and Research Center (NSTRC) at Georgia State University and the National and Georgia Parents as Teachers (PAT) programs. The goal of this project is to improve determine if the braided PAT+SafeCare program results in better outcomes for high-risk families than PAT alone. The project objectives are as follows:

  • Develop and validate a braided PAT+SafeCare curriculum for high-risk families as well as a training program for parent educators
  • Evaluate the impact of the braided PAT+SafeCare program on parent, child, and child maltreatment measures
  • Use data from the randomized control trial to develop algorithm for families to receive combined program
  • Promote braided program across Georgia and other PAT sites nationally
  • Work with PAT sites to ensure sustainability of combined program and increase the number of high-risk families receiving the braided curriculum
PI: John R. Lutzker, Ph.D.
Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation     Start Date: 1/1/2011     End Date: 12/31/2015
Testing Approaches to Reduce Job Demands Associated with Implementing Evidence-Based Practices for Families
In this study, a computer-assisted adaptation of SafeCare will be developed and tested in child welfare. This approach will assist child welfare providers with delivery of SafeCare to families, with the goal of improving provider fidelity and implementation success. In the computer-assisted SafeCare sessions, a portion of the session will be delivered on a tablet computer that the home visitor brings to the family’s home. The computer software will deliver the educational piece, or explain piece of each session, along with modeling videos of the skills. The home visitor will follow up with the practice and feedback portions of the session. A randomized feasibility trial will be conducted to test the technology-based approach against the standard SafeCare implementation approach in terms of feasibility of implementation, provider job demands and resources, as well as client outcomes such as skill acquisition and mental health. PI: Shannon Self-Brown, Ph.D.
Source: National Institute of Health     Start Date:                  End Date:

Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University
This grant establishes the Center for Leadership in Disability as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, which works in a collaborative partnership with the National SafeCare Training and Research Center. PI: Daniel Crimmins, Ph.D.
Source: Administration on Developmental Disabilities
Developing Multi-Component Evidence Based Practice in Child Abuse Service Systems
The overarching goal of this study is to develop and pilot a more complex, modular, child welfare family preservation/reunification Evidence Based Practice(EBP) system, based on SafeCare. The proposed project will involve two main sequential activities: a) to develop an EBP system comprised of a set of feasible, theoretically coherent and technically consistent practice elements that are aimed at reducing future incidents of physical abuse, and a simple set of decision rules that match elements with key client or context factors and b) to conduct a feasibility and pilot trial of the modular model. This will involve both a small-sample comparison of complex EBP vs. simple EBT cases and within-subjects multiple baseline testing of the concordance of targeted changes with their matched practice elements. The laboratory for this pilot and feasibility test will be two provider teams from among the 20 teams currently delivering SafeCare services in Oklahoma. PI: Debra Hecht, Ph.D.
Evidence-Based Child Maltreatment Prevention for High Risk Families
The goal of this project is to implement SafeCare with a population at high risk for child maltreatment, and to develop and test important adaptations of SafeCare. SafeCare will be implemented with a group of Latino parents at high risk for child maltreatment. The adaptations that will be developed will focus on providing culturally competent services for Latino families, and the development and testing of an intervention to prevent violence, with a focus on intimate partner violence. Adapted SafeCare will be delivered to a group of Latino families, and will be compared to services as usual for those families. PI: Jane F. Silovsky, Ph.D.
Mixed-Methods Study of EBP Sustainment in a Statewide Service System
Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are increasingly being implemented in public service sectors with little systemic knowledge about what factors facilitate or limit their sustainment. Many implementation efforts are not sustained after initial grant funding ends. There is evidence that leadership, policies, resource availability, collaboration, and organizational infrastructure may be key determinants of long-term sustainment, however, little empirical work has been conducted to systematically examine factors that either facilitate or limit sustainment so that the maximum public health impact of EBPs can be realized. This project utilizes mixed-methods (qualitative and quantitative) to examine factors that either support or limit sustainment of an evidence-based child neglect intervention in public sector services systems across two states and 87 counties. The main outcomes of interest include the sustained reach of the EBP in the service system, the fidelity with which the EBP is delivered, and the extent to which provider organizations have developed an organizational climate conducive to EBP sustainment. Stakeholders involved in the study will work collaboratively to develop a comprehensive theoretical model of sustainment in public service sectors that can guide future research and implementation practice. PI: Greg Aarons, Ph.D.


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