Services provided to families receiving traditional child welfare services varied widely. The range of services included parenting classes at a church or agency, family therapy or individual counseling, videotaped parenting instruction, anger-management help, GED classes and contact by social workers in person or by phone.
Fewer recurrences of abuse
Only 5.9 percent of the families trained through Project Support were later referred to CPS for abuse, compared with almost 28 percent of the control group, the researchers found.
"The results of this study have important implications for the field of child maltreatment," said SMU psychologist David Rosenfield, who also authored the study.
Project Support was launched in 1996 to address the mental health problems of maltreated children and children exposed to domestic violence, both of which often lead to considerable problems for children later in life, such as substance abuse, interpersonal violence and criminal activity. Previous studies have shown the program can improve children's psychological adjustment as well as mothers' ability to parent their children appropriately and effectively, according to the researchers.
Project Support: A promising practice
With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Project Support has been included in a study evaluating 15 "promising practices" nationally for helping children who live in violent families.
Jouriles is professor and chairman of the SMU Department of Psychology. McDonald and Rosenfield are associate professors.
|Contact: Margaret Allen|
Southern Methodist University