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04-10-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2018

Service Characteristics and Family Involvement in an Early Childhood System of Care

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2018
Robey B. Champine, Melissa L. Whitson, Joy S. Kaufman


Participation in community-based family interventions characterized by an integrated service approach is linked to enhanced caregiver and child outcomes. However, more research is needed that examines the developmental impacts of interventions serving young children and their families, given that adversity in early childhood may predict problematic developmental trajectories. We examined potential relations among perceived characteristics of an early childhood system of care serving children with severe emotional and behavioral challenges and their families, dimensions of family involvement, and changes in child and caregiver functioning from intake to 6 months. We analyzed data from 158 caregivers of children under age 6 (M age = 3.9 years, SD = 1.11, Range = 1.4–5.9 years) who were primarily White and boys. Results indicated, for instance, that perceived cultural competence and general satisfaction were positively associated with active caregiver participation in services. Although multiple path models tested via path analyses were not statistically significant, the model that assessed the potential mediating effect of active caregiver participation on the relation between cultural competence and caregiver stress approached significance (z = −1.89, SE = .03, p = .06). Qualitative results indicated that caregivers primarily viewed receiving family support as the most helpful aspect of the SOC, followed by learning enhanced parenting skills and observing positive changes in their children’s behaviors. Our findings highlight important facets of an early childhood SOC linked to positive participant experiences and outcomes. We discuss limitations of our study and implications for future research.

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