Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #396
Applied Behavior Analysis in Child Welfare
Monday, May 28, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
602 (Convention Center)
Area: CSE/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Amanda Rone (University of Florida)
Discussant: Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The need for behavior analysis in child welfare is becoming increasingly recognized. In most cases, children are removed from biological caregivers as the result of abuse and/or neglect, and are subsequently placed in foster care. A primary goal of the foster care system is the timely and successful reunification of the child with the biological caregivers; however, reunification may be contingent on the extent to which caregiver training is successful. In addition, reunification is often delayed, resulting in numerous foster care placements for some children. The research included in this symposium addresses common concerns within the child welfare system: increasing placement stability for children in care by assessing placement preference and increasing the behavioral parenting skills of both foster parents and biological parents who have had their children removed. Following the presentations, a discussant with an expertise in child welfare will provide comments and offer suggestions for future research in the area of applied behavior analysis in child welfare.
Keyword(s): Caregiver Training, Child Welfare, Preference Assessment

Utilizing Probabilistic Reinforcement to Enhance Participation in Behavioral Parent Training

ERRITY JONES (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida)

Parental participation in parent training programs is necessary for success in behavioral parent training. Prior literature has demonstrated probabilistic reinforcement as an effective intervention for improving a wide variety of behaviors. In the present study, a probabilistic reinforcement program (i.e., lottery) was implemented in order to evaluate its efficacy as part of a behavioral parent training program. The behaviors targeted for increase included attendance, participation, homework completion, and performing role plays or completing in-class assignments for2 10 week Tools for Positive Behavior Change courses. Participants earned lottery tickets for each of the dependent measures, and drawings took place at the end of each class. An alternating treatments design was employed to determine any differences in performance on the dependent measures between baseline and lottery sessions. Results showed that participants attended and participated more with parent training under the conditions of a lottery compared to baseline class sessions although the effect was minimal; furthermore, this effect was observed more clearly for1 of the2 classes. Further research is needed to explore the effect of a lottery intervention on parent participation in parent training programs.


Placement Outcomes Following Parent Training for Families With a History of Child Protective Services Involvement

EMILY SHUMATE (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer L. Crockett (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Parents with cognitive challenges are at risk for child protective services (CPS) involvement. Children born to parents with intellectual disabilities are at risk for neglect, language delays, and behavioral problems (Feldman, 1994). Two evidence-based parent training programs that have been extended to parents with cognitive challenges are Project SafeCare and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). This presentation will provide outcome data for 20 parents with cognitive challenges who were referred for parent training due to child neglect, inadequate parenting skills, or inadequate behavior management strategies. Families participating in SafeCare did not have physical custody of their children at the beginning of participation. Families participating in PCIT had prior history with CPS, although these families had their children in their custody throughout participation. Outcome data will be presented as the percent of parents who had their children returned to their care or who maintained custody of their children without subsequent CPS involvement. When working with parents involved with CPS, it is important to focus on skill acquisition and to consider family survival, defined as no subsequent CPS involvement.


Evaluation of Placement and Activity Preference in Child Welfare: Potential Implications for Placement Matching

CRISTINA M. WHITEHOUSE (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Bennie Colbert (University of Florida)

The purpose of this study is to extend the use of preference assessment methods to child welfare using a Web-based preference assessment system designed for this study. In Study 1, children will complete a computerized 4-point likert-type questionnaire designed to assess preference for different activities and community characteristics. Next, stimuli identified as high preferred (HP) and low preferred (LP) in the questionnaire will be tested using a computerized paired stimulus (PS) preference assessment. To date,2 participants have completed Study 1 and preliminary data suggest correspondence between HP and LP items identified in the questionnaire and tested in the PS assessment. Study 2 evaluates response allocation to stimuli identified as HP and LP in Study 1 in a concurrent arrangement. Preliminary data show correspondence between the results of the computerized preference assessment methods and actual allocation of behavior. Foster parents also will complete Studies 1 and 2 using a modified child questionnaire. Finally, a potential method of systematically matching foster children to different foster parents using the data from Study 1 will be discussed. Collectively, these studies, and the Web-based system designed for this study, attempt to advance routine child welfare practice.




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