Promoting Birth Parents’ Relationships With Their Toddlers Upon Reunification: Results From Promoting First Relationships® Home Visiting Program




Monica L. Oxford, Maureen Marcenko, Charles B. Fleming, Mary Jane Lohr, and Susan J. Spieker

Brief Type

Journal publication


  • Other Models


Birth parents, once reunified with their child after a foster care placement, are in need of in-home support services to prevent reoccurrence of maltreatment and reentry into foster care, establish a strong relationship with their child, and enhance child well-being. Few studies have addressed the efficacy of home visiting services for reunified birth parents of toddlers. This study reports on the findings from a randomized control trial of a 10-week home visiting program, Promoting First Relationships® (Kelly, Sandoval, Zuckerman, & Buehlman, 2008), for a subsample of 43 reunified birth parents that were part of the larger trial. We describe how the elements of the intervention align with the needs of parents and children in child welfare. Although the sample size was small and most of the estimates of intervention effects were not statistically significant, the effect sizes and the pattern of results suggest that the intervention may have improved both observed parenting sensitivity and observed child behaviors as well as decreased parent report of child behavior problems. Implications are that providing in-home services soon after a reunification may be efficacious in strengthening birth parents' capacity to respond sensitively to their children as well as improving child social and emotional outcomes and well-being. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Home Visit Observations
  • Parent-child observations
  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Oxford, M. L., Marcenko, M., Fleming, C. B., Lohr, M. J., & Spieker, S. J. (2016). Promoting birth parents’ relationships with their toddlers upon reunification: Results from Promoting First Relationships® home visiting program. Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 109–116. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.12.004
Author Contact Information:
Monica L. Oxford


  • Participant Characteristics
  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes