2015 | United States
Meeting the complex needs of urban youth and their families through the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program: The “real world” meets evidence-informed care
Youth living in poverty face compounding familial and environmental challenges in utilizing effective community mental health services. They have ongoing stressors that increase their dropout rate in mental health service use. Difficulties also exist in staying engaged in services when they are involved with the child welfare system. This study examines the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program, developed across four broad conceptual categories related to parenting skills and family processes that form a multiple family group service delivery approach. A total of 321 families were enrolled in this randomized intervention study, assigned to either the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program or standard care services. Caregivers and their children randomly assigned to the experimental condition received a 16 week multiple family group intervention through their respective outpatient community mental health clinic. Data was collected at baseline, midtest (8 weeks), posttest (16 weeks), and 6 month follow-up. Major findings include high engagement in the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program, compared to standard services. Although child welfare status is not related to attendance, family stress and parental depression are also related to participant engagement in this multiple family group intervention. Involvement in the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program resulted in improved effects for child behaviors. Lastly, no evidence of moderation effects on family stress, child welfare involvement, or parental needs were found. The 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program appeared able to engage families with more complex “real world” needs.
Small, L., Jackson, J., Gopalan, G., & McKay, M. (2015). Meeting the complex needs of urban youth and their families through the 4Rs 2Ss Family Strengthening Program: The “real world” meets evidence-informed care [Special Issue]. Research on Social Work Practice, 25(4), 433-445.