The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Advancing Maternal and Infant Mental Health Research: Adapting and Infusing Evidence Based Practices Into Community Settings

Sunday, January 19, 2014: 8:45 AM-10:30 AM
HBG Convention Center, Room 003B River Level (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Symposium Organizer:
Sarah Kye Price, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Sarah Kye Price, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Social work researchers are at the forefront of efforts to enhance maternal and infant mental health services in the United States. An infrastructure of home visiting, parenting training, and family intervention programs offer targeted services to families who face challenges to adaptive family functioning, particularly within low-income and underserved communities. Many of these family support programs are built around nationally identified evidence-based parenting curricula and employ common outcome measures of parenting capacity ( These programs are compatible with, but not always linked to, social work and mental health services research. Taking the lead in advancing social change, social work researchers in maternal and infant mental health are actively partnering with these community based programs in order to adapt and infuse additional evidence based practices and interventions which more fully respond to the range of biopsychosocial concerns experienced within contemporary families. This symposium highlights the collective work of several social work researchers who are actively engaged with clients, staff, and administration of community based parent support programs to adapt and infuse a range of evidenced based practices into real-world service delivery.

The symposium begins with a study infusing parenting support services into residential substance abuse treatment (Project BRIGHT) where the parenting dyad is therapeutically supported as an augmentation to substance abuse treatment services. This grounded theory study integrates consumer and staff perspectives into the development of a trauma-informed model of intervention and implementation which jointly recognizes and comprehensively responds to substance abuse and parenting support enhancement. The second study focuses on active engagement of fathers into home-based parenting training and support programs through adapting evidence-based models of home visiting to respond to parenting partners of both genders. Qualitative findings from this mixed-methods feasibility study highlight recommended structural changes to service delivery which respond to the needs of fathers, as well as therapeutic father engagement strategies which focus on the co-parenting relationship as an augmentation to the traditional parenting training curriculum. The final study discusses the augmentation of maternal and child health home visiting through the addition of a doula, a birth assistant whose empowering presence maximizes parent involvement and informed choice-making from prenatal care through labor, delivery, and the postpartum as a means to strengthen parental capacity. This qualitative study discusses the feasibility, acceptability, and service coordination findings which emerged from adapting and implementing this holistic and interdisciplinary intervention within home visiting.

Collectively, the studies presented in this symposium highlight several of social work’s contributions to advancing maternal and infant mental health through research partnerships capable of creating sustained, system-oriented change. Across studies, strengthening the family system and building organizational capacity within the community program emerge as essential elements facilitating well-being for parents and infants and insuring successful adaptation and program implementation. This symposium concludes with a discussion linking findings from these studies with other emergent and ongoing research in maternal and infant mental health, and considering additional opportunities for social work researchers to collaborate and create strengths-based opportunities integrating research and practice.

* noted as presenting author
Improving Parent-Child Relationships in Recovery: Exploring Strategies for Integrating An Evidence-Based Parenting Intervention Into Residential Substance Abuse Treatment
Gina Mittal, MSW, Boston University; Lisa Schottenfeld, MSW, MPH, Mathematica Policy Research; Kimberly Warsett, BA, Boston University; Ruth Paris, PhD, Boston University
Enhancing Home Visiting Programs With Doula Services
Renee C. Edwards, PhD, University of Chicago; Jon Korfmacher, PhD, Erikson Institute; Sydney Hans, PhD, University of Chicago
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