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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Preventing Child Maltreatment in High-Risk Families

FOA Number: CE04-045 - Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 8/1/04–7/31/07
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000449-01
Principal Investigator: Jane F. Silovsky, PhD
University of Oklahoma
940 NE 13th Street
CHO 3B-3406
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: 405-271-8858
Fax: 405-271-2931


The greatest potential for child maltreatment prevention effects is with high-risk populations. Unfortunately, home-visiting programs have failed to prevent child maltreatment in the highest-risk populations, such as families with parental substance use disorders, intimate partner violence (IPV), parental depression, or other multiple risk factors. These discouraging results with high-risk populations may be best understood as a mismatch of service aims and family needs. In many respects, high-risk child maltreatment prevention populations have more in common with child welfare cases than with perinatal prevention populations. Reductions in child maltreatment recidivism with child welfare populations have been found with the home-based intervention model SafeCare, a promising intervention for high-risk child maltreatment prevention.

Oklahoma University Health and Science Center (OUHSC) has conducted a randomized pilot and feasibility trial of SafeCare, enhanced with specific components to address substance abuse, IPV, and depression in high-risk prevention populations (SC+). The initial results are encouraging. The overarching goal of this project is to extend current work by conducting a full-scale randomized efficacy trial of the SC+ protocol with a high-risk child maltreatment prevention population. The main hypotheses are:

  • Hypothesis 1: Compared with services as usual (SAU), high-risk parents randomized to receive SC+ will have improved survival for future child welfare reports and will have lower rates of out-of-home placements due to child maltreatment.
  • Hypothesis 2: Compared with SAU, families randomized to receive SC+ will show greater improvements on factors proximal to child maltreatment, including observed measures of the home environment, home safety, physical child care, and self-reports of verbal and physical aggression toward children.
  • Hypothesis 3: Compared with SAU, high-risk parents randomized to receive SC+ will show greater improvements on risk factors, including measures of child abuse potential, levels of IPV, depression, and substance abuse.