Cascading Dissemination of a Foster Parent Intervention

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

A study of whether parent management training can improve parenting practices, decrease out-of-home placements, and improve child functioning.

Project Overview

Children in foster care are at high risk for an array of current and future difficulties. The foster parents who are caring for these children often find themselves in the position of trying to help without enough training or support. The goals of this study are to examine whether providing foster and kinship parents with parent management training can:

  • Improve child functioning
  • Decrease child placement failure rates
  • Improve foster and kin parents’ parenting practices
  • Decrease the number of out-of-home placements

The intervention used in this study was first tested with foster parents in Oregon. So far, 700 foster and kinship parents in San Diego County, California have participated. The study also focuses on what it takes to transfer a successful program model from one community to another. The study is a collaboration between researchers at the Oregon Social Learning Center, the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC), and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

Year Project Began: 2000
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; and KEEP ( 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 and 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.