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April 2018Vol. 19, No. 3Technology Shows Promise in SafeCare Implementation

A technology-based program has shown promise in delivering child maltreatment prevention practices to a wider audience by making the work of newly trained child welfare and community prevention providers easier. A recent study looked at the technology-assisted implementation of the SafeCare program. SafeCare, an 18-week evidence-based training model for parents that is widely used in child welfare and high-risk prevention settings to inform safe parenting behaviors, has resulted in a substantial reduction in child abuse and neglect cases and in repeat maltreatment incidents for families who complete the training.

Thirty-one child welfare and community prevention providers were randomly assigned to SafeCare implementation as usual (SC-IU) or with technology assistance (SC-TA). Providers participated in the project for an average of 7.74 months and were expected to provide three assessments of their designated implementation approach (at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months after starting SafeCare work with families).

Providers assigned to the SC-TA group followed adapted SafeCare implementation procedures that included the use of the web-based, tablet-delivered program called SafeCare Takes Care, which was designed to assist them in their training sessions with parents. SafeCare Takes Care includes a combination of video, audio narration, and engaging questions and presents them via a "talk show" format. For example, in the parent-child interaction module, a video begins with the "talk show host" explaining the skills being covered in the session and is followed by a video of a parent modeling these skills. The host then takes questions from studio audience members or from fans on the "street cam."

Implementation outcome data collected from the providers show that the technology-assisted providers spent far less time than SC-IU providers on activities related to training preparation, delivery, and follow-up. The researchers suggested that technology can improve SafeCare training by easing the time and burden associated with provider implementation.

Participating providers reported that most families seemed very accepting of the technology. The authors point out that technology-assisted implementation of evidence-based practices such as SafeCare should not be limited to providers only and suggest the feasibility of delivering interventions directly to the consumer.

"A Technology-Mediated Approach to the Implementation of an Evidence-Based Child Maltreatment Prevention Program," by Shannon R. Self-Brown, Melissa C. Osborne, Whitney Rostad, and Ed Feil (Child Maltreatment, 22), is available at