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Abusive mothers improve parenting after in-home training, emotional support of therapists
Date:7/27/2010

arch was funded by the federal Interagency Consortium on Violence Against Women and Violence Within the Family, along with the Texas-based Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

"Child maltreatment is such an important and costly problem in our society that it seems imperative to make sure that our efforts and the tax dollars that pay for them are actually solving the problem," said Jouriles. He and McDonald are co-founders and co-directors of the SMU Family Research Center.

In 2007, U.S. child welfare agencies received more than 3 million reports of child abuse and neglect, totaling almost 6 million children, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Poor and single with children

The study worked with 35 families screened through the Texas child welfare agency Child Protective Services, CPS. The parents had abused or neglected their children at least once, but CPS determined it best the family stay together and receive services to improve parenting and end the maltreatment.

In all the families, the mother was legal guardian and primary caregiver and typically had three children. On average she was 28, single and had an annual income of $10,300. Children in the study ranged from 3 to 8 years old.

Half the families in the study received Project Support parenting education and support. The other half received CPS's conventional services.

New parenting skills + help

Mental health service providers met with the 17 Project Support families weekly in their homes for up to 6 months. During that time, mothers, and often their husbands or partners, were taught 12 specific skills, including how to pay attention and play with their children, how to listen and comfort them, how to offer praise and positive attention, how to give appropriate instructions and commands, and how to respond to misbehavior.

Also, therapists provided the mothers with emotional support and helped the
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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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