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Child Assessment Tool for Use in Resource Limited Settings

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R44HD088291-01
Agency Tracking Number: R44HD088291
Amount: $149,768.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NICHD
Solicitation Number: HD16-024
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-04-30
Small Business Information
Needham, MA 02494-3146
United States
DUNS: 621513451
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (617) 467-6014
Business Contact
Phone: (617) 467-6014
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Neurodevelopmental assessments of young children can be complex and difficult to use by untrained non clinical staff in low resourced settings Additionally few instruments have been developed or tested for use with culturally diverse samples of children living in poverty In family homeless shelters in the United States developmental assessment of the children is especially rare despite their high risk status Fifty one percent of homeless children are under age five and a disproportionate number are from African American or Latino families and most are exposed to multiple adverse early life experiences Environmental and family factors e g poverty and racism maternal depression adversely impact the developmental trajectories of homeless children To address these concerns the Center for Social Innovation C will develop the Vulnerable Child Assessment Tool VCAT An Instrument for Use in Resource Limited Settings Normed on a diverse sample of homeless children ages three to five and based in an ecological framework the VCAT will make neurodevelopmental assessment accessible to vulnerable children and families in low resource settings Phases I and II of this study will use a rigorous psychometric approach to develop an ecologically aware instrument with low cognitive burden to measure adverse childhood experiences risk and protective factors and developmental delays During Phase I a set item pool for each domain will be developed in conjunction with the expert panel and vetted for cognitive burden cultural responsiveness and ease of administration Phase I families will be recruited through Housing Families a local homeless program serving up to homeless children a day We will test the pool of items in a small sample of parents and program staff using cognitive interviews and psychometric tests including Item Response Theory IRT and internal consistency reliability Concurrently we will develop a prototype online platform and
pilot its use for feasibility with the initial items on a sample of children In Phase II we wil test the validity and reliability of the instruments using a larger sample of homeless children recruited from programs around the country and will assess the validity of the instrument by correlating results with gold standard clinically administered instruments on a subsample of homeless children We will further the refine the web based platform develop a scoring algorithm and incorporate a recommendations system for service interventions to address identified concerns This project will build upon on C andapos s innovative platform used to create the first psychometrically validated instrument to measure trauma informed care Using the same back end technology the VCAT will enable direct service staff to target limited resources to the most needed areas for intervention at the child parent and environmental levels The instrument will fill a significant gap in the field making valid and reliable assessment of low income racially diverse children exposed to multiple risk factors more accessible and serve as a model to develop tools for use with infants or school aged children and those in other low resourced environments

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE The proposed project Vulnerable Child Assessment Tool VCAT An Instrument for Use in Resource Limited Settings addresses gaps in the research and practice of developmental assessments of young children from culturally diverse groups living in poverty and exposed to multiple adverse childhood experiences including homelessness Under this Fast Track study the Center for Social Innovation C is developing testing and evaluating an innovative online neurodevelopmental assessment instrument to assess child development in context The VCAT will assist homeless service providers to identify children residing in shelter settings who are at moderate and high risk for neurodevelopmental delays and target limited resources to service interventions at the child parent and or community levels that build resilience and redress developmental delays onto healthy trajectories

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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