Children in the study were in nonkinship or kinship foster care. The intervention for children and families involved in the child welfare system was delivered in early childhood centers and school-based classrooms in two counties in the Pacific Northwest. The study sample included children entering kindergarten in the fall, and the intervention was delivered in the summer before kindergarten entry.
Sample demographics for the consented sample are reported for each group, but not for the full sample. Information on age, gender, and race/ethnicity are reported, and the groups were demographically equivalent on these observed variables. Generally, the groups were half male (KITS-SRP: 52%, FCC: 46%), half European American (KITS-SRP: 55%, FCC: 51%), almost one-third Latino (KITS-SRP: 30%, FCC: 31%), and around one-sixth other racial/ethnic groups (KITS-SRP: 15%, FCC: 18%). No information on socioeconomic status (e.g., free-and-reduced lunch) is reported.
KITS-SRP is implemented in center- or school-based classrooms during the 2 months prior to kindergarten entry, in order to prepare children in foster care for kindergarten. It consists of a 24-session, child-focused curriculum (with 2 hours sessions meeting twice weekly) which teaches children self-regulatory, prosocial, and early literacy skills. This component is taught by a graduate-level lead teacher and two assistant teachers to groups of 12 to 15 children. The caregiver-focused component also uses a manualized curriculum, meets at the same time as the child-focused groups, and is taught by one facilitator and one assistant.
FCC, the foster care comparison group, received child welfare services as usual, which could include any number of psychosocial and health interventions, including which child psychotherapy, speech therapy, Head Start programs, or another early childhood education program.
Support for implementation
The school readiness teachers and the caregiver group facilitators completed a standardized 40-hour training program. They also attended weekly intervention team meetings to review progress of children and caregivers and tailor intervention strategies to address behavioral and literacy needs that were identified in the meetings. The children and caregivers received supplemental materials and weekly homework assignments through Home-School Connection newsletters to outline school readiness topics and home practice actvities.