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Randomized Controlled Trial Study of a Parenting Intervention to Enhance Post-Release Adjustment and Reduce Recidivism for Reentering Fathers and their Children

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $925,692)

Child Trends and ICF International will conduct a randomized controlled study to examine the impact of adding an evidence-based parenting program to reentry services for parents leaving prison. The program, the Strengthening Family Program (SFP), has already been found to be effective in preventing abuse and neglect with low income families with children at high risk for maltreatment. This study will test whether this intervention reduces recidivism, improves family functioning, and reduces child maltreatment among this vulnerable population of re-entering fathers of children ages 6-21. The project fills a gap by addressing two complementary objectives:

Objective 1: To conduct an outcome evaluation to determine the shorter- and longer-term impact of a parenting intervention designed for reentering fathers to rebuild relationships with their children on father well-being and child well-being with measurement upon program enrollment, at program completion (at 14 weeks), and with a twelve-month follow-up from program enrollment.

Objective 2: To conduct a process evaluation that will provide context, clarification and understanding of the outcome evaluation results in the context of reentry and an opportunity to replicate and extend practices that work best with reentering fathers.

Research Subjects: A sample of 700 fathers will be randomly assigned ' 350 to a control group and 350 to a treatment group. A multi-informant, multi-method assessment strategy will be used for data collection. Self-report data will be collected from: 1) reentering fathers, 2) caregivers/legal custodians of children, and 3) a focal child (ages 6-21). Focus groups, interviews, record reviews and program data will also be used to collect data. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) will provide comprehensive information on both new offenses (including arrest, conviction, and re-incarceration) and aggregate criminal history.

Research Design and Methodology: Experimental design. T-tests, chi-square tests and regression analyses will be used to compare outcomes for treatment and control group members. The recidivism analyses will use multivariate logistic regression and survival analyses. Content analyses will be used to summarize key themes emerging from the process evaluation.

Date Created: September 14, 2009