Research

Click on any of the listed items for more details on research and reports.


Independent Research on FosterParentCollege.com®

California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse Rates FPC, March 2009.
FosterParentCollege.com® (FPC) is the first and only online resource parent training center to be rated by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC).
According to the CEBC Web site, "Evidence-based practices are those that have empirical research supporting their efficacy." FPC received a "Promising Research Evidence" rating for the scientific research it has conducted and was given the highest rating for "Relevance to Child Welfare."

The CEBC provides child welfare professionals worldwide with easy access to vital information about selected programs related to child welfare. Each program is reviewed and, depending on the level of research evidence for the program, rated utilizing the CEBC Scientific Rating scale. The programs are also rated for their relevance to child welfare.

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FosterParentCollege.com® Online Evaluation Findings, March 2007.
Report on a pilot study conducted in Ohio by the Institute for Human Services (IHS) for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program.
From the Overview: "The mission of the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP) is to promote the delivery of high quality, family-centered child welfare services to abused and neglected children and their families by assuring individuals in the child welfare system are properly trained. The OCWTP continues to pilot and evaluate different training strategies, including offering online courses to facilitate just-in-time learning opportunities. This report is a summary of evaluation findings for the online courses offered through FosterParentCollege.com®."

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Northwest Media's Research on FosterParentCollege.com® Training

Online Training for Resource Parents of Substance-Exposed Children, February 2011.
Phase I Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #1 R43 DA026644-01A1 to Northwest Media from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
An alarming number of children entering foster care are victims of parental substance abuse, either in utero or in early childhood. Infants and young children exposed to drugs may have unique physical, neurological, and/or psychological problems that manifest in behaviors that can frustrate and even alienate foster parents who are not adequately prepared. The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate a series of seven online courses for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents on understanding and parenting substance-exposed infants and children. The series is an interactive multimedia (IMM) adaptation of the TIES for Families program, developed at UCLA. In Phase I, we developed and evaluated the first course, which focuses on helping resource parents better understand how infants are affected by substances – developmentally, medically, and behaviorally – and how parents can more effectively care for these infants.

The Phase I research study evaluated the Substance-Exposed Infants course with a sample of 127 resource parents recruited through FosterParentCollege.com. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the intervention group, which viewed our IMM course online; the comparison group, which viewed a text-only version of the same course online; or the control group, which did not view either version of the course. All three groups completed online questionnaires at the beginning of the study and again at the end on parents’ knowledge, attitudes, openness, and preparedness related to parenting substance-exposed infants; the first two groups also completed user satisfaction and system usability questionnaires. Results of the Phase I study generally supported the efficacy of the online IMM format for training. The Final Progress Report provides details on the course development process, the course content, and the study’s methods and results.

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Advanced Web-Based Training for Adoptive Parents of Special Needs Children, July 2010.
Phase I Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #1 R43 HD056645-01 to Northwest Media from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Adoptive families with special needs children differ from a foster family in significant ways: the family has a commitment to a forever bond; adopted children are aware of the loss of their birth parents and the fact that reunification is not a possibility; the adoptive family assumes financial responsibility for the child; and as a new family member the child creates a permanent impact on the immediate family and on members of the family’s supportive community. All of these changes have long-lived impacts, yet training and support services generally end once the adoption is finalized. Courts and laws require foster families to obtain in-service training, but nothing is required for the adoptive family after the adoption.

In Phase I of this project we developed and evaluated the first in a series of online training classes for adoptive parents with special needs children. The class was on understanding and managing anger in adopted children. The Phase I study evaluated the effectiveness of the online Anger Workshop with a national sample of adoptive parents. We examined whether parents who received the online workshop increased their level of knowledge and confidence in dealing with serious anger problems in adopted children compared to a group of parents who received an online workshop on lying. We also assessed participants' level of satisfaction with the course and the online training format. The Final Progress Report describes the Phase I content and product development, as well as the methods and results of the evaluation study.

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Web-Enhanced Pre-Service Training for Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parents, January 2009.
Phase I Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #1 R43 HD054032-01A1 to Northwest Media from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Foster, adoptive, and kinship parents have to successfully complete training and screening prior to becoming licensed caregivers. The Institute for Human Services (IHS) of Columbus, Ohio has created one of the few standardized pre-service training programs in current use nationally. Although face-to-face contact between prospective resource parents and staff is crucial for purposes of screening, building support, and handling sensitive topics, recently agencies have become increasingly interested in enhancing their pre-service programs by adding online training activities.

The aim of this project is to develop a version of the IHS pre-service training program enhanced by interactive multimedia (IMM) that alternates and integrates online instruction with class instruction. In Phase I we developed and evaluated the first of 12 proposed units. The course, Child Abuse and Neglect, covers the following topics: definitions of maltreatment, abuse, and neglect; characteristics of maltreating parents and families; the continuum of parenting; empathy for birth parents; and recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Now available on FosterParentCollege.com®, the course includes interactive exercises, printable handouts, and a review questionnaire.

The Phase I study evaluated the Child Abuse and Neglect course with a sample of 92 prospective foster parents affiliated with social service providers in two states. The study compared the IMM-enhanced approach with the traditional classroom approach on measures of parent knowledge, empathy, usability, and satisfaction. The Final Progress Report describes the course content, the Phase I product development process, and the evaluation study's methods and results.

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Online Professional Training on Foster and Adoptive Care, January 2008.
Phase I Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #1 R43 HD047970-01A2 to Northwest Media from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
With this project, we broadened the target audience of our online training to include mental health professionals (caseworkers, social workers, administrative/supervisory staff, and therapists). In Phase I, we developed and evaluated the first in a proposed series of online interactive multimedia training courses for these professionals on special issues relating to foster, adoptive, and kinship care. The course, entitled Family Dynamics in Foster Care, covers the following topics: family systems and styles, common myths and motives related to foster and adoptive care, the impact of placement, and an interview technique for determining the family dynamics, myths, motives, and impact of fostering. (It is now available on FosterParentCollege.com® and has been approved by the National Association of Social Workers for 4 Continuing Education units.)

The Final Progress Report describes the content and product development in Phase I, as well as the Phase I evaluation study. In the study, we assessed the effectiveness of Family Dynamics in Foster Care. Specifically, we evaluated whether the online training format was successful in improving participants' knowledge of the issues covered in the course. We also evaluated whether participants were satisfied with various operational aspects of the course and with its online presentation.

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Web-Based Marriage Education for Foster, Kinship, and Adoptive Couples, December 2007.
Phase I Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #1 R43 HD053148-01 to Northwest Media from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
In Phase I of this project we developed and evaluated the first module of a proposed 14-module online version of a marriage education program, which we adapted specifically for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents. It is based on the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), a well-researched, effective, and widely used training program. The first course (now available on FosterParentCollege.com® under the title Relationships: Strengthening Communications) focuses on identifying and assessing communication patterns in relationships and on developing the communication skills couples need to help them safely manage conflicts.

The Final Progress Report describes the Phase I content and product development, as well as the methods and results of the online evaluation study. In the study, we assessed the effectiveness of the course in improving participants' communication knowledge and skills. We also assessed participants' level of satisfaction with various operational aspects of the course and the online training format.

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Note: A chapter devoted in part to a description of Northwest Media's Web-based marriage education program for resource parents appears in a 2010 book on couple therapy. The chapter citation is as follows: Markman, H. J., Rhoades, G. K., Delaney, R., White, L., & Pacifici, C. (2010). Extending the reach of research-based couples interventions. In K. Hahlweg, M. Grawe-Gerber, & D. H. Baucom (Eds.), Enhancing couples: The shape of couple therapy to come (pp. 128-141). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe. For information on obtaining a copy of the book, call the publisher toll free at 866-823-4726 or send an email to customerservice@hogrefe-publishing.com.
Web-Based Training Center for Foster and Adoptive Parents, August 2005.
Phase II Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #5 R44 HD041335-03 to Northwest Media from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
In Phase II of this project, we completed the production of a proposed series of interactive multimedia courses for foster and adoptive parents on understanding and managing serious child behavior problems. The series, titled FosterParentCollege.com®, was produced for use on either the Web (FosterParentCollege.com® ) or DVD video. The courses developed during Phase II address the following topics: stealing, running away, wetting and soiling, sexualized behavior, sleep problems, lying, fire-setting, eating disorders, reactive attachment disorder, safe parenting, self-harm, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/oppositional defiant disorder, kinship care, positive parenting (cooperation and encouragement, behavior contracts, behavior management skills), and independent living skills.

We evaluated the effectiveness of two of the courses: on lying and sexualized behavior. For each course, we examined two outcomes: parenting knowledge and parents' self-perceptions of their confidence, comfort, and objectivity in relation to dealing with the problem behavior. The Final Progress Report describes the content and product development during Phase II, as well as the research design, methods, and findings of our evaluation study.

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Note: An article based on the Phase II evaluation study has been published (Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Nelson, C., & Cummings, K. [2006]. Web-based training for foster, adoptive, and kinship parents. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1329-1343). Reprints may be obtained from Children and Youth Services Review.
Web-Based Training Center for Foster and Adoptive Parents, November 2002.
Phase I Final Progress Report on Small Business Innovation Research Grant #1 R43 HD041335-01 to Northwest Media from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
In Phase I of this project we developed and evaluated the first in a proposed series of Web-based courses for foster and adoptive parents on understanding and managing serious child behavior problems. The first course was on dealing with serious anger problems. It uses an innovative, interactive multimedia format in which the viewer hears other parents tell stories of their parenting experiences to Richard J. Delaney, Ph.D., the project's Principal Investigator and a leading expert on foster and adoptive care. Through an ensuing parent-expert dialogue, viewers hear clinical insights into the problem behavior, practical steps they can take to alleviate anger outbursts, and useful background information about anger in children.

The course, titled Anger Outbursts, has become part of FosterParentCollege.com®, a training center for foster and adoptive parents that offers a comprehensive selection of courses via the Web or DVD video. As part of the Phase I grant activities, we evaluated the effect of the Anger Outbursts course on parent knowledge of children's serious anger problems and on key aspects of parent self-perceptions, such as confidence, comfort, and objectivity in dealing with children's anger. The Phase I Final Progress Report describes the program's development and content, as well as the evaluation study's methods and results.

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Note: A report on the evaluation study was later published as a research note in a major social work journal (Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Cummings, K., & Nelson, C. [2005]. FosterParentCollege.com®: Interactive multimedia training for foster parents. Social Work Research, 29, 243-251). Reprints may be obtained from Social Work Research.

Journal Articles

Product: Child Abuse & Neglect
Delaney, R., Nelson, C., Pacifici, C., White, L., & Keefer Smalley, B. (2012). Web-enhanced preservice training for prospective resource parents: A randomized trial of effectiveness and user satisfaction. Journal of Social Service Research, 38, 503-514.
Traditionally, prospective resource parents must attend all preservice training in person. Although live sessions are necessary for screening applicants, instructional portions of training could be enhanced by Web-based sessions. This pilot study compares the effectiveness of online and classroom versions of one session from a widely used preservice training program. Ninety-two individuals enrolled in the program in two states were randomly assigned to a treatment group that viewed an online version of the class on child abuse and neglect or to a comparison group that took the same class in person. Written questionnaires were completed before and after the class. Significant group differences on knowledge of child maltreatment and empathy toward birth parents plus high user satisfaction were hypothesized. Analysis of covariance results showed the online training was more effective than the live training at increasing knowledge. Multivariate analysis of covariance findings on empathy were not significant but trended toward greater empathy for the online group. Feedback indicated high satisfaction with the online course. The finding that online instruction is more effective than live instruction has positive implications for practice, because Web-based training offers advantages like standardizing instruction, cutting agency and trainee costs, and providing greater flexibility.

To order a reprint, contact the Journal of Social Service Research at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wssr20/38/4.

Products: Lying, Sexualized Behavior
Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Nelson, C., & Cummings, K. (2006). Web-based training for foster, adoptive, and kinship parents. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1329-1343.
Foster, adoptive, and kinship parents urgently need high quality in-service training to help them better understand and deal with serious behavior problems of children in their care. Parents are increasingly turning to the Internet for information, advice, support, and now, for formal training. Breakthroughs in technology have made the Web more accessible and more sophisticated, visually. For example, it is now feasible to use video or animation to model social skills, a mainstay of today's parent training interventions. The current study examined the effectiveness of two online courses - on lying and sexualized behavior - with a sample of foster parents from the Foster and Kinship Care Education Program of California Community Colleges. The intervention used interactive multimedia formats to present behavior problems, provide insights into their etiology, and offer parents practical steps to resolve them. Findings showed significant gains in parent knowledge for both courses, and in competency-based parent perceptions for the course on lying, with findings for the other course in the expected direction. Overall, user satisfaction and implementation fidelity were very high. Implications and future directions for this type of intervention are discussed.

To order a reprint, contact Children and Youth Services Review at http://www.childwelfare.com/kids/cysr.htm.
Product: Anger Outbursts
Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Cummings, K., & Nelson, C. (2005). Foster Parent College: Interactive multimedia training for foster parents. Social Work Research, 29, 243-251.
The authors evaluated a home-based parent training program for foster parents delivered on DVD. The program, part of a series of interactive multimedia courses produced for both DVD and the Web, addressed serious anger problems in children. The approach is in response to the growing unmet needs among foster families and their agencies for in-service training that is relevant and accessible. In the study, a national sample of foster parents showed significant increases in knowledge about the clinical aspects of children's anger, as well as confidence in being able to effectively parent foster children with serious anger problems. Parent satisfaction with the program was also generally very high. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential for DVD and online training in foster care.

To order a reprint, contact Social Work Research at http://www.amazon.com/Foster-Parent-College-interactive-multimedia/dp/B000E0LIAM.

Book Chapter

Marriage Relationships
Markman, H. J., Rhoades, G. K., Delaney, R., White, L., & Pacifici, C. (2010). Extending the reach of research-based couples interventions. In K. Hahlweg, M. Grawe-Gerber, & D. H. Baucom (Eds.), Enhancing couples: The shape of couple therapy to come (pp. 128-141). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe.
In this chapter we explore ways of extending the reach of research-based approaches to couples intervention to partners, service providers, and policy makers. We focus specifically on prevention and relationship education efforts over the past 30 years and summarize lessons learned from these efforts that can influence practice and social policy. We show how today these services are becoming the main way that empirically based couples interventions are reaching couples in general and underserved, high risk partners and individuals in particular. We conclude with a discussion of two new studies that illustrate some of the lessons learned and that highlight some of the key issues that our field faces as we move forward.

For information on obtaining a copy of the book, call the publisher at 866-823-4726 or send an email to customerservice@hogrefe-publishing.com.

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