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December/January 2013Vol. 13, No. 11SafeCare and American Indian Families

A new research study, published in the August 2012 edition of Child Maltreatment, examines the effectiveness of SafeCare, an evidence-based home-visiting program for families involved in the child welfare system. The study was implemented statewide in Oklahoma and utilized a sample of 2,175 families. Of these families, researchers were able to isolate 354 who self-identified as American Indian. Because of this large ethnic subsample, researchers were in the unique position to assess the cultural competency of the program and to examine its effectiveness for American Indians. The study is one of the first to employ a rigorous evaluation to examine the effectiveness of home-visiting services for American Indian parents involved in the child welfare system.

SafeCare employs a home-based training curriculum for parents who are at-risk or have been reported for child maltreatment. The program was developed for families who have children between the ages of 0 and 5 and is especially well-suited to address issues with child neglect.

The researchers compared American Indian families receiving SafeCare to those receiving services as usual. The article reported the following findings:

  • SafeCare was equally effective at reducing child welfare recidivism among American Indian parents as it was among other ethnic groups.
  • American Indian parents receiving the program services reported greater reductions in depression.
  • Those in the SafeCare group reported more positive perceptions about the cultural competency of the services.
  • Families and workers in the intervention group reported higher levels of client-provider agreement on intervention goals and greater feelings of mutual liking, collaboration, affiliation, and trust.
  • Those receiving the intervention reported higher levels of service quality.

The full report, Is a Structured, Manualized, Evidence-Based Treatment Protocol Culturally Competent and Equivalently Effective Among American Indian Parents in Child Welfare?, is available on the Sage Publications website: