The Baby Elmo Program: Improving the quality of teen father-child interactions within juvenile justice facilities
The aim of the Baby Elmo Program was to establish a low-cost, sustainable, structured visitation program for non-custodial incarcerated teen fathers and their young children, taught and supervised by probation staff in four California county detention centers. Very little is known about this highly vulnerable population, though the risks associated with this dyad are pronounced (Nurse, 2002; Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2003). Unlike traditional programs, this intervention was based on building a relationship between the youth and his child, rather than on increasing the youths' abstract parenting knowledge. The media-based sessions targeted the interactional quality of the relationship by introducing communication and socio-emotional enhancing techniques. Changes in six aspects of Emotional responsiveness: Joint attention (JA), Emotional engagement (EE), Parent involvement (PI), Child involvement (CI), Turn taking (TT), and Follows the lead (FTL) were measured from videotapes of the individual parent-child sessions of 20 dyads. Individual growth curve analyses on six measures of ER indicated significant increases in JA, EE, CI, TT, and FTL across time with age of child as a significant covariate. Furthermore, models indicated that there were significant individual differences in parental vocalizations and behaviors. There were also significant positive correlations between positive parental vocalizations, positive behaviors, and play behaviors introduced during the intervention. These preliminary results support the hypothesis that by increasing the interactional quality of the relationship, disruption in this relationship will be reduced, increasing the likelihood that the incarcerated teen will form and maintain a relationship with his child.
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Delivering Services to Incarcerated Teen Fathers: A Pilot Intervention to Increase the Quality of Father-Infant Interactions during Visitation Morin, Marisa (2013-05-06)The absence of a father figure has been linked to very poor developmental outcomes for the child. During incarceration, there are limited opportunities for visitation between fathers and their children. The Baby Elmo Program ...