The de la Parte Institute

" USF Researchers Win Grant to Help Prevent Child Abuse"

[334 words]
(Tampa, October 12, 2000)

In fiscal 1997-98, more than 13-thousand children in Hillsborough County were alleged victims of abuse or neglect. Of those reports, more than 6-thousand were substantiated. According to a national study, more than half of families with a substantiated report of child maltreatment had a second substantiated report within 18 months.

In an effort to prevent multiple occurrences of child maltreatment within families, University of South Florida researchers are collaborating with community agencies on a project designed to give parents whose children have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect the parenting skills and knowledge to eventually be reunited with their children. Project partners include the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, the College of Public Health, and the School of Social Work, the Hillsborough County Children's Advocacy Center, the Child Abuse Council, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, and the Department of Children and Families.

The project will attempt to identify the critical components of effective parenting programs, develop a multi-level intervention program designed to meet the parenting needs and level of supervision required for each maltreating parent served in Hillsborough County.

"Most parenting programs have been and still are designed for middle class families who don't have the severity of problems that we're trying to address," said Principal Investigator Dr. Kathryn Kuehnle. "We're hopeful that the program we'll be developing will meet the needs of this special population of parents."

"For some parents, abuse or re-abuse may occur not out of indifference or malevolence, but simply because they lack the skills or knowledge to be nurturing parents," added Dr. Marion Becker, Co-Principal Investigator of the project. "We're hoping that this effort will result in greater numbers of children being successfully reunited with their parents."

The researchers will seek federal funding to continue their investigation, evaluate the parenting intervention program they develop, and disseminate the program to other communities and agencies.

For more about Dr. Kathryn Kuehnle.
For more about Dr. Marion Becker.

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