kContact

About This Program

Target Population: Parents of children and young people in long-term out-of-home care who have supervised contact with them

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Program Overview

The kContact intervention consists of structured support provided to parents both prior to and following supervised contact visits with their child(ren) in long-term out-of-home care. The kContact program is delivered by a practitioner who has an existing relationship with the parent or who is best placed to develop this relationship and support or deliver the program. Although the program is structured there is flexibility to vary it depending on the frequency of contact and the parent and child’s needs.

Program Goals

The goals of kContact are:

  • Create an environment during the visit that will increase children’s emotional safety and reduce their distress related to contact
  • Improve relationships with their children
  • Improve the ability to support children in the context of contact visits
  • Reduce the number of contact visits cancelled

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for kContact.

Essential Components

The essential components of kContact include:

  • kContact is delivered to a parent by a practitioner who has an existing relationship with the parent or who is best placed to develop this relationship and support or deliver the program. It can be delivered face-to-face or by phone.
  • The kContact intervention stages (designed to be of no more than 15 minutes in duration each) are as follows:
  • The planning component consists of: providing an overview of the intervention, discussing the parent’s expectations (including broader goals they hope will come from these visits) and concerns, confirming the parent’s attendance at the visit, and assessing and discussing with the parent what needs their child(ren) have that should be met during the visit, based on parents’ knowledge and experience of their children developmentally.
  • The preparation or previsit planning component (which happens each time a contact visit is scheduled) involves helping the parents identify the goals and aims they would like to achieve during visits with their children and jointly plan activities for the contact visit to reflect these goals, as well as communicate relevant information (such as the child’s recent or upcoming achievements, special events, or activities) to parents before the visit.
  • The follow-up visit component (which happens after each contact visit) involves encouraging parents to reflect on what worked well, with an emphasis on the strengths they could build on, validating parents’ feelings about the visit, including feelings of grief, distress, or anger, and discussing aspects of visits that could be managed differently at subsequent visits.
  • Lastly, the review component (which happens quarterly if contact visits are weekly or monthly, or after a minimum of 2-3 contact visits if visits are less frequent) involves a review of the broader goals of visits and the progress towards those goals from the point of view of children, parents, carers (i.e. resource parents), and relevant professionals. The practitioner can collect the perspectives of these different stakeholders separately or together during a case review meeting.

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

kContact directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Problematic parent interactions and behavior in relation to parent-child supervised contact for children in out-of-home care

Recommended Intensity:

15-minute once-only session with the parent to plan; then 30 minutes around each supervised contact visit (15 minutes before and 15 minutes after each visit); further review sessions (15 minutes) once every 3-4 months

Recommended Duration:

For as long as the supervised visits occur

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Phone required to call parents. Room may be required to meet with parents. Existing case file management systems should be used by practitioners to track and record their discussions with parents.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There are no minimum educational qualifications to provide the kContact program.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

  • Bullen, T., Kertesz, M., & Bleeker, A. (2015). kContact intervention manual. Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University. ISBN 1-921239-25-5.
  • Noble-Carr, D., & Suomi, A. (2017). kContact practice manual (2nd Ed.). Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University. ISBN 1-921239-26-3.

The manuals can be accessed through the program contact.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Onsite training (based in Australia) or online

Number of days/hours:

Approximately a half-day of training

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for kContact.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is no formal support available for implementation of kContact.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for kContact as listed below:

Self-report checklists are incorporated into the manual.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for kContact.

Implementation Cost

There are no studies of the costs of kContact.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement kContact.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Suomi, A., Lucas, N., McArthur, M., Humphreys, C., Dobbins, T., & Taplin, S. (2020). Cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to support parental contact for children in out-of-home care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 109, Article 104708. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104708

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 183

Population:

  • Age — Children: 0–14 years, Mean=7.5–8.2 years; Parents: Mean=34.7–35.1 years; Carers: Mean=49.6–50.5 years; Caseworkers: 33.7– 35.1 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Children: 17–19% Indigenous; Parents: 7.3–10.2% Indigenous; Carers: 1.5–3.3% Indigenous; Caseworkers: 1.0–8.4% Indigenous
  • Gender — Children: 46–47% Female; Parents: 68.3–85.6% Female; Carers: 91.7–92.6% Female; Caseworkers: 80.0–92.3% Female
  • Status — Participants were children in long-term out-of-home care (OOHC) and their parents.  

Location/Institution: Out-of-home-care agencies across three Australian jurisdictions

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the kContact intervention for parents having supervised contact with children in long-term out-of-home-care (OOHC). Participants were randomized to the intervention (8 clusters, 100 children) or control groups (7 clusters, 83 children). Measures utilized include the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), the Receptivity to Birth Family Connections Scale (RBFCS), the Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory (BCAP), the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), and the Child Parent Relationship Scale (CPRS) short form. Results indicate that compared with controls, fewer visits were cancelled by parents in the kContact group at end of intervention follow-up. Results also show higher caseworker receptivity to contact, and higher parent satisfaction with contact in the kContact group at follow-up. Limitations include lack of generalizability to all families with children in OOHC, lower indigenous representation compared to the population as a whole, and cluster randomizing with a small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Bullen, T., Taplin, S., McArthur, M., Humphreys, C., & Kertesz, M. (2017). Interventions to improve supervised contact visits between children in out of home care and their parents: A systematic review. Child & Family Social Work, 22(2), 822–833. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12301

Taplin, S., Bullen, T., McArthur, M., Humphreys, C. Kertesz, M, & Dobbins. T. (2015). kContact, an enhanced intervention for contact between children in out-of-home care and their parents: Protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 15, Article 1134. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2461-3

Taplin, S., Lucas, N., Suomi, A., Humphreys, C., Kertesz, M., & McArthur, M. (2021). Parents’ supervised contact visits with their children in care: Factors associated with cancellations. Children & Youth Services Review, 127, Article 106127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106127

Contact Information

Stephanie Taplin
Title: Adjunct Associate Professor
Agency/Affiliation: University of Technology Sydney.
Department: School of Public Health
Email:

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2018