Education Center for Adoptive Parents Online

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44HD056646-02A1
Agency Tracking Number: HD056646
Amount: $1,154,820.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: NICHD
Solicitation Number: PHS2010-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 072307593
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (541) 343-4747
Business Contact
Phone: (541) 343-4747
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Education Center for Adoptive Parents Online (ECAPO) Adoption has undergone dramatic change in the past 30 years, due largely to the complexity of contemporary adoptive relationships, which increasingly involve international, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and foster care placements. Adoptive youth experience consistently high rates of behavior problems and psychological maladjustments. These adoptive youth issues occur at a disproportionately higher rate than among non-adoptive youth. Experts see parenting competence as the primary mediating factor in reversing this trend, yet many adoptive parents lack competence and confidence in their ability to parent effectively. There is a compelling need for accessible, research-based training that enhances adoptive parents' competence and ensures the long-term healthy adjustment of adopted children. Affirming this need, the recently enacted Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption compels treaty signatories to require training for prospective adoptive parents. Many states now require Hague standards to be applied to all adoption cases. The central aim of the proposed project, The Education Center for Adoptive Parents Online (ECAPO), is to address these deficiencies and enhance the competence of adoptive parents, ultimately advancing the long- term healthy adjustment of adopted children. To that end, we will develop and formally evaluate an interactive online media-based program to meet the needs of adoptive parents. Materials will be grounded in a strong conceptual framework and will target factors known to buffer the effect of risk factors on adopted children's adjustment. ECAPO will contain a unique set of skill-building instructional components delivered via an innovative web delivery platform (IRISedOnline) that will enable adoption service providers to incorporate ECAPO into existing websites to augment and improve services for adoptive families. In Phase I, the first program module was developed and satisfactorily evaluated for feasibility. Phase II efforts will focus on developing and evaluating the complete program. When completed, ECAPO will be organized into 6 basic modules and 2 additional informational modules addressing specialized topics, and will provide over 10 hours of adoptive parent training as required by the Hague Convention of 2002. The program covers content that topics experts have identified as particularly salient to adoptive families: (1) Understanding adoption (issues of attachment, identity, race, culture, etc.); (2) Communication within the family about adoption-related issues (developed and evaluated in Phase I); (3) Communication with extended family, the outside world, and school about adoption-related issues; (4) Promoting adopted children's resilience in the family context; (5) Remedial parenting and counteracting risk in the adoptive context; and (6) Cultural competence in raising the transracially and/or transculturally adopted child. The two additional modules will cover (a) foster care adoptive parenting, and (b) information on adoptive parenting for blended families, siblings, special needs, kinship adoption. Six tasks will guide the development of the Phase II program: (1) convene a development team to draft a content outline and align content with instructional delivery, (2) conduct key informant interviews and facilitate focus groups, (3) produce Phase II program assets, (4) design and develop enhancements to the delivery web site, (5) upload the program to the website and conduct usability testing, and (6) enroll participants and evaluate program efficacy by conducting a large randomized controlled trial with 330 participants comparing outcomes from the intervention group to those of a control group. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The consistent and disproportionate rate of behavior problems and psychological maladjustment among adopted youth poses a significant public health concern. Experts say this concern can best be addressed by providing adoptive parents with the education and training they need to effectively deal with complex adoption-related issues. This project will create and conduct a randomized controlled trial of an online training resource that is accessible, empirically sound, and provides adoptive parents with needed knowledge and skills to mediate the effect of risk on their adopted children's development.

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

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