Safe Start Initiative
Bridgeport Safe Start Initiative
Intervention with Children Exposed to Violence
Child First was funded by the Bridgeport Safe Start Initiative (BSSI), which received funds from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. From August 2004-October 2006, Child First participated in an evaluation of children ages birth to six years who were exposed to violence in their homes or community and who subsequently received home-based intervention from Child First.
Two hundred and eighty children were screened for violence exposure; 143 (51%) were positive and 132 received services. Eighty-two participated in the follow-up study, with a mean age of 3.3 years. Ethnic breakdown showed 55% Latino, 27% Black, 9% Caucasian, with 87% on Medicaid. Children were predominantly referred from early care and education, child protective services, domestic violence agency, physical health providers, WIC, and parents. They experienced an average of 3.7 traumatic events in their lifetime. Services were provided for a mean of 7.5 months, approximately 1.7 hours per week.
The evaluation was conducted by independent research staff at the Yale University Consultation Center and was published in Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal in 2008. Results showed a statistically significant decrease in parenting stress, improvement in child social-emotional and behavioral health, and markedly increased access to community based services (82%). Specific outcomes included:
- A significant decrease over time in the number of potentially traumatic events that children experienced, including family and non-family violence, (t(81) = 8.61, p < .00).
- A significant decrease over time in post-traumatic stress intrusive thoughts (t(37) = 2.90, p=.007and avoidance behaviors (t(37) = 2.80, p = .009), showing an impact on important post-traumatic symptoms that children are likely to experience.
- A significant decrease in parent’s total distress (t(75) = 3.81, p < .05).
- Post traumatic symptoms improved more for those in service longer.
- Parent satisfaction with services was very high with a mean of 4.55 on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0.
- Families received very high levels of services, with a mean of 20 services per family, and 84% received services within 90 days.
Citation for Safe Start article:
Crusto, C.A. Lowell, D.I., Paulicin, B., Reynolds, J., Feinn, R., Friedman, S. R., & Kaufman, J. S. (2008). Evaluation of a Wraparound Process for Children Exposed to Family Violence. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal, 4(1), 1-18.
what people are saying
Child First “has transformed scientific research into an extremely effective, evidence-based practice.”— Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston
Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
what people are saying
“I consider Child First one of the most impressive interventions for young children that I have ever witnessed in my long lifetime.”— Edward Zigler, Ph.D.
Founder and Director Emeritus
Zigler Center for Child Development at Yale University
Founder of Head Start