Objective: This study set out to carry out a feasible, real-world, randomized clinical trial to examine the benefits of home-based paraprofessional parent aide services in reducing physical abuse and neglect risk in high-risk parents. Methods: Families were randomly assigned to receive either parent aide plus case management services ( n= 73) or case management services only ( n=65), collecting in-home data on physical child abuse and neglect and proximal risk and protective factors, just prior to service initiation, and again after six months of services. Results: Mothers receiving parent aide and case management services reported significant improvements from baseline to six-month follow-up in self-reported indicators of physical child abuse risk, as well as improvements on parental stress, mastery, depression, and anxiety, whereas mothers receiving only case management services did not. The slopes of such observed changes across groups, however, were not found to be statistically significantly different. No discernable improvements were found with regard to indicators of risk for child neglect. Conclusions: As the first randomized clinical trial examining the effectiveness of parent aide services, this study provides the first controlled evidence examining the potential benefits of this service modality. This study suggests promising trends regarding the benefit of parent aide services with respect to physical child abuse risk reduction and related predictors, but evidence does not appear to suggest that such services, as they are presently delivered, reduce child neglect. Practice implications: These findings support the continued use of parent aide services in cases of physical child abuse and also suggest careful consideration of the ways such services may be better configured to extend their impact, particularly with respect to child neglect risk.
- Parent aide services
- Physical child abuse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health