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Pilot randomized controlled trial of foster parent training: A mixed-methods evaluation of parent and child outcomes

Anne-Marie Conn, Moira A. Szilagyi, Linda Alpert-Gillis, Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Jody Todd Manly, Nicolas Goldstein and Sandra H. Jee

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 89, issue C, 188-197

Abstract: Many foster parents are challenged by the social-emotional consequences of children in foster care who have experienced childhood trauma. In this project, we provided foster parents with a trauma-informed, evidence-based parenting program (Incredible Years; IY) and assessed its impact on child behavior, foster parent stress and attitudes, and perceived effect on parenting. Foster parents of children aged 2–7 yrs. were randomly assigned to IY intervention or control groups. We assessed pre-post child behavior, parenting stress, and parental attitudes. A subset of intervention foster parents completed post-intervention focus groups and in-depth interviews. Main themes from qualitative data (3 focus groups; 5 interviews; total n = 12) revealed that IY foster parents perceived changes in their parenting that they attributed to the peer support, new perspectives on the value of play, and specific tools that enhanced parenting skills. These parenting skills improved family relations and were sustained over time. Quantitative data, however, did not as strongly support program effectiveness. Between the IY (n = 16) and control (n = 17) groups, foster parents were less likely to perceive their foster child in need of mental health treatment (p = 0.002), and changed their perception of their child's role in the family (p = 0.03). No between group differences were found for measures of child behavior or parent stress. Overall, these results suggest that trauma-informed IY for foster parents may provide unique peer support and increased confidence needed to implement strategies that can improve intra-family relations. Further research is needed to verify whether and how these relations are improved.

Keywords: Foster parent; Parenting; Incredible years; Parent education; Mixed methods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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