Research & Demonstration Projects

The Family Networks Project (Columbia, SC)

At a Glance

Project Name:

The Family Networks Project: Supporting Family Confidence, Competence, and Community Connections 

City & State:

Columbia, South Carolina 

Target Population:

Parents of young children with developmental disabilities served by the IDEA Part C Early Intervention System

Partnering Organizations:

South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness

BabyNet (SC IDEA Part C System)

Parenting and Family Research Center, University of South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

Children’s Trust of South Carolina

South Carolina Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative

Local Evaluator:

Parenting and Family Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina

Project Overview
Download an overview presentation

South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness is partnering with other state agencies, public and private service providers, and a local university to implement and evaluate both a workforce enhancement intervention and an evidence-based parenting intervention to strengthen families of young children with developmental disabilities. The selected workforce enhancement strategy is the Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Parent-Provider Partnerships in Child Care curriculum (PCAN).  PCAN was originally designed to build capacity of child care providers to prevent child maltreatment in very young children; this project examines the initial efficacy of this approach with IDEA Part C Service Coordinators.  The evidence-based parenting intervention chosen for this project is Level 4 Standard Stepping Stones Triple P-Positive Parenting Program (SSTP).  SSTP is part of the evidence-based Triple P-Positive Parenting Program System of Interventions, which is designed to enhance parent confidence and competence and to promote positive development in children.  SSTP is a 10-session Triple P program variant specifically designed for parents of children with disabilities, and is being delivered to families in their homes. This project consists of two studies conducted in separate geographic regions of South Carolina.

The first study is an initial efficacy trial of SSTP.  The target population consists of 50 families of young children ages 11-23 months with developmental disabilities who are eligible to receive IDEA Part C services in one region of South Carolina.  Families are randomly assigned to one of two conditions (1) IDEA Part C services as usual or (2) IDEA Part C services plus SSTP. 

The second study examines the synergistic impact of PCAN and SSTP.  PCAN training is being offered to all BabyNet (IDEA Part C) Service Coordinators in a second region of South Carolina.  The target population consists of 50 families of young children ages 11-23 months with developmental disabilities who are eligible to receive BabyNet services and who are on the caseloads of the Service Coordinators who have received PCAN training.  These families are randomly assigned to one of two conditions (1) PCAN and IDEA Part C services as usual or (2) PCAN, IDEA Part C services as usual, and SSTP. 

Project Goals

Assess the initial efficacy of SSTP with parents of children below age 2 with developmental disabilities, when delivered alone and in combination with service coordination enhanced by PCAN, to:

  • strengthen parent competence
  • enhance parent confidence
  • strengthen child social, emotional and behavioral functioning
  • create strong provider-parent relationships
  • reduce likelihood of child maltreatment

Related goals include:

  • Assess the feasibility and practicality of delivering PCAN training to IDEA Part C Service Coordinators
  • Assess impact of PCAN training for IDEA Part C service coordinators on parent and child outcomes in the areas of parent competence and confidence, child functioning, and on the parent-service coordinator relationship 

 

Participating Organizations
South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, South Carolina’s public-private initiative for improving school readiness in children 0-5, is serving as lead agency for implementation of this research and demonstration project along with a number of partner organizations.  Partner organizations and roles are listed in Table 1.

Partner Organization

Role 

Parenting and Family Research Center,
University of South Carolina

PI and Local Evaluator; will provide lead scientific guidance, oversee all evaluation efforts; will assist in identification and recruitment of SSTP providers

South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness

Lead Agency for project; provides financial oversight, will hire/oversee Project Coordinator; also serves as lead agency for BabyNet  

BabyNet

State entity charged with service provision via Part C of IDEA; will assist in identification of service coordinators for PCAN training and in identification of families for the project  

South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

State agency providing early intervention and service coordination for 70% of BabyNet-eligible families; will assist in recruitment of Service Coordinators to be trained in PCAN and in identification of families for the project 

Children’s Trust of South Carolina

State agency charged with prevention of child maltreatment and lead agency for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) funds; will help identify SSTP providers and will provide PCAN training for project 

South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

State agency providing early intervention and service coordination for 70% of BabyNet-eligible families; assists in recruitment of Service Coordinators to be trained in PCAN and in identification of families for the project

Children’s Trust of South Carolina State agency charged with prevention of child maltreatment and lead agency for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CPCAP) funds; helps identify SSTP providers and provides PCAN training for project
South Carolina’s Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems initiative Assists in recruitment of SSTP and PCAN providers and in dissemination of findings

Local Evaluation Plan

The proposed project captures elements of both efficacy and effectiveness studies.  Study One is an initial efficacy study of SSTP with parents of very young children with developmental disabilities.  Study Two tests a collaborative intervention in which use of existing IDEA Part C Service Coordinators represents a real-world service system reflective of an effectiveness trial, while hand-selection of SSTP providers affords us an element of control to ensure delivery of SSTP under more optimal conditions, as is typically found in an efficacy trial. Data collection efforts focus on increasing our understanding of issues related to feasibility, utility, practicality, and acceptability of the selected interventions on systems, providers, and families, while simultaneously attending to issues related to fidelity of intervention delivery and measurement of key outcome variables.

We are using a multi-method, multi-informant structure to gather both quantitative and qualitative data relevant for our key questions. Data are collected from Service Coordinators, SSTP providers, parents, and children. We are using both self-report and observation strategies, and supplement this with archival information.  Data are gathered from professionals receiving training in PCAN and SSTP.  Assessment information is gathered from families at baseline, post-treatment (4 months after baseline) and at a 12-month follow up point.  Our analysis plan focuses on use of ANCOVA models to examine impact of our chosen interventions on a variety of child, family, and family-service provider relationship outcomes.

 

Contact Information

Janice Kilburn, Ph.D.
Project Coordinator                                      
South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness
1300 Sumter St, Suite 100
Columbia, SC 29201-3340
803.734.8079
jkilburn@scfirststeps.org
    

Cheri Shapiro, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Evaluator
Institute for Families in Society
University of South Carolina
803.777.8760
CSHAPIRO@mailbox.sc.edu

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