Programs

Project Support

Type of Approach:

  • Individual

Provider Education Level:

  • Masters Degree

Length:

  • Greater than 12 weeks

Trauma Type:

  • Child Abuse
  • Domestic Violence

Trauma Symptom:

  • Attachment
  • Depression
  • Externalizing Behaviors

Setting:

  • Home

Notes:

Type of services:

Multi-component family intervention that provides mothers and children with social and instrumental supports, helps mothers with problem solving skills, and teaches mothers to use child management and nurturing skills designed to improve the parent-child relationship and reduce children’s conduct problems.

Program setting:

Family’s home

Type of provider:

Master’s level therapists

Length of program/number sessions:

Weekly sessions, one hour to 90 minutes in length, beginning after departure from a domestic violence shelter and usually six months in duration with an average of 20 sessions.

Type(s) of trauma addressed:

Childhood exposure to domestic violence that meet diagnostic criteria for oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder; child maltreatment

Unique/Innovative Characteristics

This intervention is designed to address conduct problems in children exposed to domestic violence and child maltreatment. Services are delivered at home and focus on teaching child management skills and providing case management and support to mothers.

Date Added/Updated:

6/15/12

Age:

  • 0-5 (Early Childhood)
  • 6-12 (Childhood)

Language:

  • English

Ethnic Racial Group:

  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • White

Caregivers Included:

  • Mother

Population Adaptations:

Age range of children:

4-9 years

Parent/adult caregiver included in intervention:

Yes. The intervention has been evaluated with mothers departing from domestic violence shelters and families referred to Children’s Protective Services for allegations of physical maltreatment.

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

African American and Latino women were part of the randomized controlled trial studies; all families were living in poverty. In the domestic violence sample, more than two-thirds had unstable living arrangements.

Specific cultural adaptations:

None noted

Foundation:

Evaluation Studies:

A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 66 mothers departing from domestic violence shelters with at least one child exhibiting clinical levels of conduct problems. Home visits began after departure from the shelter. At 20-month follow-up, children whose mothers had participated in Project Support had greater reductions in conduct problems compared to children in the comparison group. Mothers receiving project support services displayed greater reductions in inconsistent and harsh parenting and psychiatric symptoms compared to comparison group mothers. Changes in mothers’ parenting and traumatic stress symptoms accounted for a sizable proportion of Project Support’s effects on children’s conduct problems.
Mothers in the comparison group were contacted monthly, provided instrumental and emotional support services, and were encouraged to use community services. Both families who participated in Project Support and families in the comparison group received tangible goods such as household items and referrals for financial assistance.
Jouriles EN, McDonald R, Rosenfield D. et al. Reducing conduct problems among children exposed to intimate partner violence: A randomized clinical trial examining effects of Project Support. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2009; 77(4):705-717.


A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 36 families that were randomized to Project Support or a comparison group that received existing services. Mothers exiting a domestic violence shelter who had experienced physical abuse in the past 12 months and had at least one child, between the ages of 4 to 9 years, that met the diagnostic criteria for oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder were eligible to be in the study. Families receiving Project Support received home visits for up to 8 months after leaving the shelter and the average number of home visits was 23. Families were followed over a 16-month period. Findings included:

  • Child management skills among mothers who received Project Support improved more rapidly than mothers in the comparison group
  • Externalizing behaviors among children in the Project Support intervention group improved at a faster rate compared to children in the comparison group
    Jouriles EN, McDonald R, Spiller L, Norwood WD, Swank PR, Stephens N, Ware H, Buzy WM. Reducing conduct problems among children of battered women. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2001; 69:774-785.

A randomized clinical trial was conducted with 35 families referred to Children’s Protective Services (CPS) for alleged child physical maltreatment. The children were between 3 and 8 years old, and were not in alternative placement (i.e., lived with their families). Families were randomly assigned to a Project Support intervention group or CPS service-as-usual comparison group. At 16-month follow-up, mothers in the Project Support group had improved their ability to manage childrearing responsibilities, reduced harsh parenting, and enhanced parenting effectiveness while mothers in the comparison condition did not show improvement in these outcomes. In addition, at 20-month follow-up, 5.9% of families in the Project Support group had been re-referred to CPS, compared to 27.7% in the comparison group.
Jouriles, EN, McDonald, R, Rosenfield R., Norwood WD, Spiller L, Stephen, N, Corbitt-Shindeler D, & Ehrensaft M. Improving parenting in families referred for child maltreatment: A randomized controlled trial examining effects of Project Support. Journal of Family Psychology. 2010;24:328-338.

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Evidence-Based Practices for Children Exposed to Violence: A Selection from Federal Databases

Training Contact:

Renee McDonald, PhD; e-mail: rmcdonal@smu.edu

Training Notes:

Training available:

Yes

Program Contact