This project concerns family preservation and the prevention of child maltreatment. The research study involves an ongoing effort to test the efficacy of a group-attachment based intervention for vulnerable families with infants and toddlers. Using state of the art attachment measures, families participating in GABI, delivered by Dr. Anne Murphy at the Center for Babies, Toddlers, and Families (CBTF) at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, are assessed by members of the Center for Attachment Research team. The families who participate in GABI are often very isolated, and have had multiple adverse childhood experiences and ongoing experiences of poverty. They are referred to GABI by Administration for Children's Services (ACS), treating physicians, or psychologists. The intervention aims to enhance the parent-child relationship through group therapy sessions, including a parent-child session, a parent-only session, and a child-only session.
The assessments conducted by the research team evaluate the parent-child relationship and quality of attachment at the beginning, middle, and end of treatment, as well as the emotional wellbeing of parent and child, and the developmental trajectory of the child. These families are monitored and supported throughout the intervention. As part of the study, supported by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, the efficacy of GABI is being measured as compared to treatment as usual (i.e., STEP--Systematic Training for Effective Parenting).
GABI clinical assessments are a vital and essential part of membership in the GABI project. Clinical assessments are conducted with families attending the Group Attachment Based Intervention and Einstein Hospital in the Bronx with the goal of establishing the efficacy of this treatment model. Assessments are conducted with families before they start treatment (T1), after they finish treatment (T2), and at a 6-month follow up (T3). Assessments include the administration of the Strange Situation, a free play session coded with Dr. Ruth Feldman’s Coding of Interactive Behavior (CIB), the Bayley Scale of Infant Development Cognitive Scale, and parent questionnaires.