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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: 4R44HD088291-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44HD088291
Amount: $783,448.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NICHD
Solicitation Number: HD16-024
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-05-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-04-30
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

Neurodevelopmental assessments of young children can be complex and difficult to use by
untrainednon clinical staff in low resourced settingsAdditionallyfew instruments have been
developed or tested for use with culturally diverse samples of children living in povertyIn family
homeless shelters in the United Statesdevelopmental assessment of the children is especially
raredespite their high risk statusFifty one percent of homeless children are under age five and
a disproportionate number are from African American or Latino familiesand most are exposed
to multiple adverse early life experiencesEnvironmental and family factorse gpoverty and
racismmaternal depressionadversely impact the developmental trajectories of homeless
childrenTo address these concernsthe Center for Social InnovationCwill develop the
Vulnerable Child Assessment ToolVCATAn Instrument for Use in Resource Limited SettingsNormed on a diverse sample of homeless children ages three to five and based in an ecological
frameworkthe VCAT will make neurodevelopmental assessment accessible to vulnerable
children and families in low resource settingsPhases 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
experiencesrisk and protective factorsand developmental delaysDuring Phase Ia set item
pool for each domain will be developed in conjunction with the expert panel and vetted for
cognitive burdencultural responsivenessand ease of administrationPhase I families will be
recruited through Housing Familiesa local homeless program serving up tohomeless
children a dayWe will test the pool of items in a small sample ofparents andprogram
staff using cognitive interviews and psychometric testsincluding Item Response TheoryIRTand internal consistency reliabilityConcurrentlywe will develop a prototype online platform and
pilot its use for feasibility with the initial items on a sample ofchildrenIn Phase IIwe will test
the validity and reliability of the instruments using a larger sample ofhomeless children
recruited from programs around the countryand will assess the validity of the instrument by
correlating results with gold standardclinically administeredinstruments on a subsample ofhomeless childrenWe will further the refine the web based platformdevelop a scoring
algorithmand incorporate a recommendations system for service interventions to address
identified concernsThis project will build upon on Cs innovative platform used to create the first psychometrically
validated instrument to measure trauma informed careUsing the same back end technologythe VCAT will enable direct service staff to target limited resources to the most needed areas for
intervention at the childparentand environmental levelsThe instrument will fill a significant
gap in the field making valid and reliable assessment of low incomeracially diverse children
exposed to multiple risk factors more accessibleand serve as a model to develop tools for use
with infants or school aged childrenand those in other low resourced environments

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

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