Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury


Despite the strong links between early childhood aggression and future youth violence, little attention has been given to promoting and disseminating effective childhood violence prevention for young (< 10 years of age) urban African American and Latino maltreated children raised in foster homes. Preliminary studies support the feasibility of training foster care staff in manualized interventions delivered in their agency, retaining families through the duration of the intervention, and obtaining high ratings of consumer satisfaction.
The PI proposes to adapt, integrate, and experimentally evaluate a child centered intervention of two existing, protocol driven, empirically supported child programs called “The Dina Dinosaur’s Curriculum for Young Children Social Skills” and “Problem Solving and the Kids Club: An Intervention Group for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence.”

Researchers will examine the short-term impact of the 12-week intervention to reduce early physical aggression and its correlates (problems in social competence, emotional regulation, and social cognitions about violence) in the foster home and classroom; the reduction of foster placement instability; and will explore the impact of quality implementation (dosage and adherence) and initial level of child aggression on intervention effects. The sample under study consists of 102 foster children ages 5 to 8 years with substantial neglect, exposure to domestic violence or physical abuse nested with six agencies. A randomized field trial will be used to assign children to intervention (n=62) or a “usual care” comparison (n=40) condition. Primary outcomes include measures of early physical aggression and behavior correlates, and the stability of the placement assessed by multiple agents (the child, foster parent(s), trained observer, and teacher) and across settings (foster home, classroom) at pre-test, post-test, and three-months follow-up. Postive project outcomes will aid the development of effective violence prevention programs for underserved children in Latino and African American communities.