Cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to support parental contact for children in out-of-home care

Aino Suomi, Nina Lucas, Morag McArthur, Cathy Humphreys, Timothy Dobbins, Stephanie Taplin
Child Abuse & Neglect 2020 September 14, 109: 104708

BACKGROUND: There is an identified need to improve the evidence-base in relation to contact visits for children in the out-of-home-care (OOHC) system, to ensure optimal outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to test the effectiveness of a contact intervention for parents having supervised contact with children in long-term OOHC.

PARTICIPANTS: 183 study children in 15 clusters (OOHC services) and their parent(s) were randomized to the intervention (8 clusters, 100 children) and control groups (7 clusters, 83 children) in three Australian jurisdictions.

SETTING: The manualized intervention consisted of increasing the preparation and support provided by caseworkers to parents before and after their contact visits.

METHOD: Interviews were conducted with carers, parents and caseworkers of the study children at baseline and nine months post-randomization. Interviews included standardized assessment tools measuring child and adult wellbeing and relationships, carer and caseworker ability to support contact, and contact visit cancellations by the parent.

RESULTS: Compared with controls, the intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses showed that fewer visits were cancelled by parents in the intervention group at follow-up (-10.27; 95 % CI: -17.04 to -3.50, p = .006). In addition, per-protocol (PP) analyses showed higher caseworker receptivity to contact (6.03; 95 % CI: 0.04-12.03, p = .04), and higher parent satisfaction with contact (7.41; 95 % CI: 0.70-14.11, p = .03) in the intervention group at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: While the intervention did not have an effect on child wellbeing, as measured by the SDQ, the trial reports significant positive findings and demonstrates the benefits of the kC kContact intervention in providing support to parents to attend contact visits. The findings of the current study provide an important contribution to knowledge in an area where few RCTs have been completed, notwithstanding the null findings.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"