Program

KEEP Program

Jun 04, 2014

OVERVIEW

The KEEP Program was developed as a preventative model for use with the parents of elementary school-age foster children and provides training on parenting practices and behavior management skills to support foster parents. It focuses on appropriate discipline techniques and positive reinforcement. Experimental evaluations found that KEEP reduces behavioral problems among children in foster care.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Foster parents with elementary school-age foster children

The main goals of the KEEP program are to increase effective praise and positive interactions between parents and foster children, with a focus on appropriate discipline techniques. The program supports foster families by promoting child well-being and preventing placement breakdowns.  KEEP groups typically include seven to ten foster parents who attend 16 weekly, 90-minute sessions that focus on research-based child behavior-management techniques for parents.  Meetings focus on increasing foster and kin parents’ positive reinforcement, and the use of non-harsh methods such as time outs.  If foster parents are not able to attend the meetings, materials from the missed session are delivered during a home visit. Parents are provided with child care, monetary reimbursement, and food as incentives to attend the meetings.  Each week, parents receive a home practice assignment intended to assist parents in implementing the procedures taught in class.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Chamberlain, P., Price, J., Leve, D. P., Laurent, H., Landsverk, J. A., & Reid (2008). Prevention of behavior problems for children in foster care: Outcomes and mediation effects. Prevention Science, 9, 17-27.

Evaluated population: The sample consisted of 700 foster families (34 percent kinship, 66 percent non-relative) being placed with a foster child from the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services. Families were eligible if the child had been in a kin or non-kin foster care placement for a minimum of 30 days, was 5 to 12 years old, and was not medically fragile.

Approach: Families were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (N=359) or a control group (N=341). Families in the intervention group received the KEEP program, and families in the control group received the usual caseworker services.

Baseline and follow-up measures (5-months post baseline) were collected for child behavior problems, parents’ positive reinforcement, and discipline behaviors.

Results: Five months after the baseline assessment, the intervention group had a significant decrease in child behavior problems and a significant increase in the proportion of parents’ positive reinforcement. Levels of discipline and positive reinforcement were compared between high-risk (reporting more than six child behavior problems) and low-risk groups. Foster parents of children in the high-risk group had significantly greater rates of discipline and positive reinforcement at follow-up compared with children in the low-risk group.

Leathers, S. J., Spielfogel, J. E., McMeel, L. S., & Atkins, M. S. (2011). Use of a parent management training intervention with urban foster parents: A pilot study. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(7), 1270-1279.

Evaluated population: Twenty-five foster parents with a foster child participated in the study. The study included 31 children; 30 African American and 1 Caucasian. All participants belonged to a single urban child welfare agency in Chicago. Participants were eligible for the study if the child had clinically significant behavior problems and if the child was age 4 to 12 at the time of selection.

Approach: Eligible children were randomized to either the control group (N= 13), or the intervention group (N=18). This intervention modified three aspects of the original program: 1) more content on assisting the child academically, 2) foster parent role-plays for different parenting techniques, and 3) the entire program was adapted to a home visiting format.  Parents in the intervention group were also called each week to ask how the week was going for their child. Children in both the intervention and control groups received regular care, which consisted of individual psychodynamic therapy for the duration of the study, with no involvement of the foster parents.  These individual therapy sessions were the only services control group children were received.

Foster parents in the intervention group were interviewed 4 times over 12 months (baseline, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months post baseline). Foster parents provided information about the child’s behavior, parenting stress, and their parenting behavior such as positive parenting (praise), inconsistent discipline, use of discipline techniques learned during the program, and physical punishment.

Results: In the intervention group, child externalizing behavior problems decreased significantly compared with the control group. Foster parents in the intervention group had a marginally significant decrease in using inconsistent discipline and in using corporal punishment. Levels of positive parenting and use of discipline techniques learned during the program did not significantly change in the intervention group relative to the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Website: www.keepfostering.org

Contact Information

Patricia Chamberlain, PhD
pattic@oslc.org
Phone: (541) 485-2711
Fax: (541) 485-7087

References

Chamberlain, P., Price, J., Leve, D. P., Laurent, H., Landsverk, J. A., & Reid (2008). Prevention of behavior problems for children in foster care: Outcomes and mediation effects. Prevention Science, 9, 17-27.

Leathers, S. J., Spielfogel, J. E., McMeel, L. S., & Atkins, M. S. (2011). Use of a parent management training intervention with urban foster parents: A pilot study. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(7), 1270-1279.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Males and Females, Parent/Family Component, Parent Training/Education, Conduct/Disruptive Disorders, Other Behavioral Problems, Foster Care

Program information last updated on 06/4/14

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