Maltais C, Cyr C, Parent G, Pascuzzo K. (2019). Identifying effective interventions for promoting parent engagement and family reunification for children in out-of-home care: A series of meta-analyses. Child Abuse & Neglect. 88: 362-375.
Background : An important obstacle for family reunification following child placement in residential care and other temporary out-of-home care services is the lack of engagement among parents. Objective : The aim of this meta-analysis is to identify the most effective interventions to promote parental engagement and family reunification. Method and participants : Eight studies, for a total of 2996 families, were used to conduct two series of meta-analyses. Each study examined the effectiveness of a goal-oriented parental engagement intervention, relative to a control group made up of parents who received standard services. Six moderators were analyzed: type of clinical modality, number of clinical strategies, sources of motivation for intervention, focus on the child care staff-parent relationship, child care staff training, and strategies to promote access to intervention. Results : Results indicate that parents exposed to goal-oriented engagement interventions showed greater engagement (effect size d = 0.71, CI: 0.35–1.07, p < 0.001) and likelihood of reunification (effect size OR = 2.49, CI: 1.22–5.10, p < 0.05) than parents who received standard services. In particular, moderator analysis showed that parents who specifically participated in a family-focused intervention showed the highest engagement in comparison to parents involved in other types of interventions or who received standard services (effect size d = 1.08, CI: 0.58–1.59, p < 0.001). No moderators significantly explained heterogeneity of studies on family reunification. Conclusion : Overall, the results underline the effectiveness of family-focused interventions to promote parental engagement. Nevertheless, greater knowledge on the mechanisms by which interventions can increase parents’ engagement and family reunification is still needed.