Online Training for Resource Parents of Substance-Exposed Children

Period of Performance: 01/15/2009 - 12/31/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Northwest Media, Inc.
Eugene, OR 97401
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): An alarming number of child victims of parental substance abuse are being placed in foster and adoptive care. This includes children who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs as well as children of parents who use, sell, and/or manufacture illicit drugs. Substance-exposed infants and drug-endangered young children often have unique physical, neurological, and/or psychological problems that can manifest in a variety of behaviors that can frustrate and sometimes even alienate resource parents who are not adequately prepared to understand and nurture them. Few programs offer the comprehensive training that these parents require and there is precious little time or opportunity for parents to obtain this training with current policies to expedite permanency planning. We propose developing an online interactive multimedia training series based on the TIES for Adoption program, a leading intervention program developed at UCLA that specializes in preparing and supporting foster and adoptive families with drug-endangered children. The training will be offered as stand-alone online or DVD courses on, a specialized parent training venue developed by Northwest Media, as well as in direct conjunction with TIES services. The series will consist of seven courses, including: parenting strategies for drug-endangered infants;for toddlers;for preschoolers;how to talk about drug-endangered children and with whom;working with social workers and other professionals;birth parents and visitations;taking care of yourself and your family. In Phase I we will develop and evaluate the course on parenting strategies for substance-exposed infants. The feasibility study will test the effectiveness of the program on increasing parents'knowledge and improving attitudes compared with a text-only online version of the program and a no-treatment control group. Public Health Relevance: Subjects participating in this project will gain important information about parenting foster and adopted children exposed to drugs, in utero, postnatally, or in early childhood, that may help them to better understand and manage disturbed behaviors that are unique to these children. As a result, the quality of parent-child relationships in foster, adoptive, and kinship families could improve, which could help stabilize family placements and improve children's short- and long-term mental health outcomes.