Adapting an evidence based parenting program for child welfare involved teens and their caregivers

Child Youth Serv Rev. 2014 Jun;41:53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.03.006.


The scarcity of caregivers and the unique vulnerability of teens involved with the child welfare system necessitate effective strategies for ensuring that caregivers are prepared and supported in the important role they play with children and youth within the child welfare system. They are in a position, through the establishment of a strong, positive, supportive connection with the youth, to potentially minimize the impacts of recent trauma and interrupt a negative trajectory by preventing the youth's initiation of high-risk behavior. In this paper we describe the process used to systematically adapt Staying Connected with Your Teen™, an evidence-based, prevention-focused parenting program found in other studies to reduce the initiation of teens' risky behaviors, for use with foster teens and their relative or foster caregivers. This work has been guided by the ADAPT-ITT framework developed by Wingood and DiClemente (2008) for adapting evidence-based interventions. Qualitative work conducted in Phase 1 of this study identified the need for the development of a trusted connection between foster youth and their caregivers, as well as tools for helping them access community resources, social services, and educational supports. This paper describes the process used to develop new and adapted program activities in response to the needs identified in Phase 1. We conducted a theater test with dyads of foster youth and their caregivers to get feedback on the new activities. Findings from the theater test are provided and next steps in the research are discussed which include examining program usability, fidelity, feasibility, and testing this new prevention program that has been tailored for child welfare involved youth and their caregivers. This intervention program has the potential to fill an important gap in the availability of preventive programming for caregivers of teens in foster care.

Keywords: Adaptation; Adolescence; Child welfare; Evidence-based prevention; Foster care; Parenting.