OSLC Relationship Study 1

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

An intervention with 13- to 17-year-old females with histories of chronic criminal behavior and mental health problems referred from the juvenile justice system.

Project Overview

The Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) is conducting an intervention study with 130 13- to 17-year-old females with histories of chronic criminal behavior and mental health problems who are referred from the juvenile justice system. This study is designed to test the efficacy of a Treatment Foster Care of Oregon (TFCO) intervention compared to “community treatment as usual” and to investigate how the relationships that girls have with significant others (e.g., parents, mentors, friends, boyfriends) affect their proximal and long-term adjustment in diverse areas of functioning. An additional aim is to examine the relationship between key components of treatment and outcomes.

Participants are randomly assigned to participate in TFCO or in “usual” community treatment which is most often placement to a Group Care home or residential facility. In TFCO girls are matched with and placed in community families who are trained and supervised to provide girls with close supervision, adult mentoring, and consistent limits. Girls in TFCO receive individual and family therapy, skill training and academic support. Girls in the control condition are most often placed in aggregate care settings with from 6-16 other youths. Typically they participate in group, family and individual therapy. Study girls are assessed at frequent intervals throughout their placement periods and in follow-up. The study aims to examine the characteristics and contexts of gender appropriate treatments that help girls reduce criminal activity, drug use, and health-risking sexual behavior and improve their supportive and productive relationships and level of functioning in the community.

Year Project Began: 2000
Year Project Completed: 2002
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

Principal Investigator

Patricia Chamberlain, Ph.D.

Science Director
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Chamberlain’s interest in developing interventions for children and families emerged from her early work as a special education teacher. She has conducted several studies on treatment for children, youth, and families in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. She founded the Treatment Foster Care Oregon (formerly Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care/MTFC; www.tfcoregon.com) and KEEP (www.keepfostering.org) intervention models. TFCO is an alternative to group, residential, and institutional placement for youngsters with severe antisocial behavior and mental health problems. KEEP provides enhanced support and training to state foster and kinship parents to prevent placement disruptions, improve reunification rates, and reduce child behavioral and emotional problems. TFCO and KEEP are being widely implemented throughout the United States and in Europe (see www.tfcoregon.com and keepfostering.org). She has been the Principal Investigator on 9 randomized trials examining the efficacy of parent mediated intervention approaches. A current area of focus is on implementation research which examines what it takes to integrate and scale-up evidence-based practices in to real world agencies and systems. Most recently, she led an effort to implement linked evidence-based practices, including KEEP and PMT, in the New York City child welfare system involving over 300 case workers and supervisors serving over 2,000 children and families (CSNYC). Currently, she is leading an effort to implement KEEP and R3 in 10 Tennessee counties as part of In Home Tennessee, their Title IVE waiver program. Other recent work has also focused on the development of intervention models for adolescent girls in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. In addition to working on research aimed at improving outcomes for youth and foster and biological families, she is interested in how to support child public service systems to improve the efficiency of their routine practices. She is currently involved in helping communities in the U.S. and Europe implement and scale up evidence-based interventions. Dr. Chamberlain is a senior fellow at the Society for Prevention Research (SPR), and was inducted into the first cohort SPR Fellows in 2013.