Assessing Programs Designed to Improve Outcomes for Children Exposed to Violence

Results from Nine Randomized Controlled Trials

Published in: Journal of Experimental Criminology, v. 9, no. 3, Sep. 2013, p. 301-331

Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2013

by Laura J. Hickman, Claude Messan Setodji, Lisa H. Jaycox, Aaron Kofner, Dana Schultz, Dionne Barnes-Proby, Racine Harris

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Experimental Criminology

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

OBJECTIVES: The study tests whether participation in interventions offered by a subset of sites from the National Safe Start Promising Approaches for Children Exposed to Violence initiative improved outcomes for children relative to controls. METHODS: The study pools data from the nine Safe Start sites that randomized families to intervention and control groups, using a within-site block randomization strategy based on child age at baseline. Caregiver-reported outcomes, assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months, included caregiver personal problems, caregiver resource problems, parenting stress, child and caregiver victimization, child trauma symptoms, child behavior problems, and social-emotional competence. RESULTS: Results revealed no measurable intervention impact in intent-to-treat analyses at either 6- or 12-month post-baseline. In 6-month as-treated analyses, a medium to high intervention dose was associated with improvement on two measures of child social-emotional competence: cooperation and assertion. Overall, there is no reliable evidence of significant site-to-site effect variability, even in the two cases of significant intervention effect. CONCLUSIONS: Since families in both the intervention and control groups received some degree of case management and both groups improved over time, it may be advantageous to explore the potential impacts of crisis and case management separately from mental health interventions. It may be that, on average, children in families whose basic needs are being attended to improve substantially on their own

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.