Our Community Services for Families’ visit coaching model was recently published in a national journal, Children and Youth Services Review, as part of a scientific study about the potential for improved parenting skills through coached visitation.
The Family Visit Coaching (FVC) model, a curriculum written by Marty Beyer, is an alternative to traditional child welfare visitation in that parents interact with a coach before, during, and after visits. The goal is to build essential parenting skills and improve parents’ emotional capacity to engage with their children.
Although variations on the model are used throughout the United States, no peer-reviewed research had been done to demonstrate whether the intervention actually improves parenting – until now.
In this study, 160 parents across San Diego participated in an FVC program from 2015 to 2018. The study was undertaken by San Diego County in an effort to reduce the amount of time families remain separated following intervention from Child Welfare Services in which a child or children were removed from the home.
- Family Visit Coaching improves parenting skills for parents in child welfare.
- Each additional visit coaching session improves parenting skills.
- Family Visit Coaching maximizes the use of visitation during child welfare episodes.
They were assessed at the beginning and end of the program using the San Diego County adaptation of the Parenting Skills Assessment, 10th edition (PSA). A statistically significant improvement was found in parenting. Improvements were noted with each additional visit based on specific measures. This findings are promising, as past research has shown that positive parenting skills are associated with child welfare reunification and reduced foster care reentry.
With a focus on families that social workers believed faced large obstacles to reunification or were seen as “resistant” to such programs, many of these families had much lower odds of a timely reunification.
The results of this study are very optimistic. Interviews with program participants showed that parents who participated in the program, versus parents in the general child welfare population, had improved relationships with their children, better practical parenting skills, and a greater sense of self-efficacy.
While our social workers see these positive changes in family relationships every day, it’s a great feeling to have our impact recognized and supported by the larger scientific community.
A further summary of the findings can be foundhere.