Topic: Interventions for Abusive Behavior
Definition for Interventions for Abusive Behavior:
Interventions for Abusive Behavior are defined by the CEBC as programs that address a parent's or caregiver's abusive treatment of a child or adolescent. The abusive behavior may be one or more of the following types as defined by the CEBC for this topic area:
- Physical abuse: Nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child or adolescent
- Sexual abuse: Activities perpetrated on a child or adolescent such as fondling their genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials
- Emotional/Psychological abuse: A pattern of behavior that impairs a child's or adolescent's emotional development or sense of self-worth, such as constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance
Interventions designed solely to address the needs of abused children are not covered in this topic area; these interventions may be found in the Trauma Treatment (Child & Adolescent) topic area.
The following link gives more information on this topic area as it is defined by the U.S. government: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/defining/federal/
- Target population: Abusive parents or caregivers
- Services/types that fit: Typically outpatient services with individual, group, or family formats; services may be delivered in the home and may include assessment, case planning, mental health services, case management, education, and/or skill building
- Delivered by: Child welfare staff, mental health professionals, or trained paraprofessionals
- In order to be included: Program must specifically target stopping child or adolescent abuse and preventing recurrence as a measurable goal
- In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines abuse-related outcomes such as reductions of recurrence of maltreatment or outcomes for parents or caregivers such as changes in abusive behavior and related parenting practices (e.g., harsh parenting).
Programs in this Topic Area
The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.
One Program with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:
- Multisystemic Therapy for Youth with Problem Sexual Behaviors (MST-PSB)Youth between 10 and 17.5 years of age (and their families) when the youth has engaged in sexually abusive behavior toward others; ...
Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:
- Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)
[Abuse-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy]Caregiver and their child between the ages 5 and 17 years whose family struggles with conflict and/or coercion due to parent, ...
- Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN)Families who have come to the attention of Child Protective Services within the past 180 days due to the physical abuse ...
[Project SafeCare]Parents at-risk for child neglect and/or abuse and parents with a history of child neglect and/or abuse
Four Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:
- Combined Parent-Child Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CPC-CBT)Children ages 3-17 and their parents (or caregivers) in families where parents engage in a continuum of coercive parenting strategies ...
- Functional Family Therapy Child Welfare® (FFT - CW®)Children and adolescents up to 17 years of age and their parent/caregivers and other family members who were referred to ...
- Nurturing Parenting Program for Parents and their School-age Children 5 to 11 YearsParents of families who have been reported to the child welfare system for child maltreatment including physical and emotional maltreatment ...
- Parents Anonymous®Parents, grandparents, relative and kin providers, foster parents, or anyone serving in a parenting or caregiver role and children and ...
Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:
- Caring Dads: Helping Fathers Value Their ChildrenFathers (including biological, step, and common-law) who have who have physically abused, emotionally abused, or neglected their children; exposed their ...
- Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation, The (GLM) – non-responderThe Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation
- Nurturing Parenting Program for Parents and their Infants, Toddlers, and PreschoolersFamilies who had been reported to the child welfare system for child maltreatment including physical and emotional maltreatment in addition ...
Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?
The Interventions for Abusive Behaviors topic area is relevant to child welfare because intervening with child abuse is one of the central functions of the child welfare system. Child welfare professionals need help identifying effective interventions that stop the abusive behavior by adults and prevent re-abuse. Interventions included in this topic area aim to minimize the risk that could lead to future child abuse, equip families with the skills and resources they need to ensure that children are safe in the home, and decrease the effects of abuse on children of all ages.
Mark Chaffin, PhD
Georgia State University