Why BehaviorTools™?

Schools and facilities serving individuals with behavioral challenges are increasingly being mandated to provide their staff with positive behavior support strategies and to focus efforts on the prevention of behavior problems that can lead to physical crisis management interventions.

The BehaviorTools™ curriculum is a positive behavior support approach to staff training. It is non-coercive, effective and very easy for staff to understand and use. The BehaviorTools™ get results!

Below are some abstracts from journal articles generated from peer reviewed studies on the training model that the BehaviorTools™ courses are based on.

The Florida Child Welfare Behavior Analysis Services Program
Research on Social Work Practice 2008; 18; 367 originally published online May 20, 2008;
Michael R. Stoutimore, Catherine E. Williams, Bryon Neff and Margie Foster

Abuse, neglect, or both often result in removing children from their homes and placing them in foster care. As a result of these experiences, many children learn unhealthy behaviors. These “behavioral challenges” often lead to a cycle of multiple placement disruptions and progressively more restrictive placements. The philosophy, science, and technologies of behavior analysis are well suited to address this cycle. The Florida Department of Children and Families Behavior Analysis Services Program (BASP) is a behavior analysis initiative, combining research with service provision, developing and implementing data-based practices. Since 2001, the BASP has operated through statewide contracts with behavior analysis programs at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. The BASP employs board certified behavior analysts and offers promise for the continued development of best practices. This article provides a description on the foundations, development, and current status of the BASP.
 


 

Using Staff Training to Decrease the Use of Restrictive Procedures at Two Facilities for Foster Care Children
Research on Social Work Practice 2008; 18; 401 originally published online Mar 6, 2008;
Kimberly A. Crosland, Maricel Cigales, Glen Dunlap, Bryon Neff, Hewitt B. Clark, Tamela Giddings and Alfredo Blanco

Objective: Use of some restrictive procedures, including physical restraint, has been controversial. For children within the foster care system, who have already suffered various degrees of abuse and neglect, restrictive procedures could add to their emotional and behavioral problems. The current study was conducted to determine whether a behavioral staff training program would help reduce the use of restrictive procedures at two group facilities housing children in the foster care system. Method: Pre- and posttraining measures (incident reports) were obtained within a nonconcurrent multiple-baseline design to document the use of restrictive procedures. Results: The data revealed decreases in reports of several restrictive procedures (e.g., take downs, physical holds, and physical and pharmacological restraints) at both facilities. Conclusions: The results suggest that training direct care staff personnel, including social workers, in positive behavioral strategies might reduce staff use of restrictive procedures and result in fewer injuries to both children and staff.
 


 

The Effects of Staff Training on the Types of Interactions Observed at Two Group Homes for Foster Care Children
Research on Social Work Practice 2008; 18; 410 originally published online Feb 26, 2008;
Kimberly A. Crosland, Glen Dunlap, Wayne Sager, Bryon Neff, Catherine Wilcox, Alfredo Blanco and Tamela Giddings

Objectives: An extensive literature base exists for behavioral parent training; however, few studies have focused on training direct care staff at group home and residential facilities for children. This study was conducted to determine whether a behavioral staff training program consisting of classroom training and in-home feedback would improve staff interactions with children at two group foster care homes. Method: Staff at both homes were trained, and direct observation measures were obtained on positive and negative interactions and lack of interactions. A multiple-baseline design across homes was used to assess staff interaction behavior. Results: Increases in both positive interactions and tool use were observed in the treatment phase, as were decreases in negative interactions for both group homes. Conclusions: The results suggest that training direct care staff, including social workers, to use behavioral strategies change patterns of interaction, resulting in a greater likelihood of improved relationships between staff and children.
 


 

Behavioral Parent Training in Child Welfare: Evaluations of Skills Acquisition
Research on Social Work Practice 2008; 18; 377 originally published online Mar 6, 2008;
Carole M. Van Camp, Timothy R. Vollmer, Han-Leong Goh, Cristina M. Whitehouse, Jorge Reyes, Jan L. Montgomery and John C. Borrero

Objective: Behavioral parent training has been proven effective through years of research with a variety of groups. However, little research has been conducted to systematically evaluate the extent to which behavioral parent training may improve parenting skills of foster and other caregivers of dependent children. The Behavior Analysis Services Program (BASP) has been charged with providing behavioral parent training to foster parents and other caregivers of dependent children throughout the state of Florida through a variety of services focusing primarily on a group-class based training curriculum. This article examines the extent to which behavioral parent training was effective in increasing skills of caregivers who were trained in 2001 and 2002. Methods: Study 1 evaluated skills acquisition via a large-scale analysis of pre-course and post-course assessments, as well as observations of in-home parent-child interactions. Study 2 assessed skills acquisition via controlled analyses using repeated measures and multiple baseline designs. Results: Results showed increases in parenting skills in both studies as a function of curriculum training. Discussion: Implications of the results, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.
 


 

Evaluating a Positive Parenting Curriculum Package: An Analysis of the Acquisition of Key Skills
Research on Social Work Practice 2008; 18; 442 originally published online May 19, 2008;
Kerri P. Berard and Richard G. Smith

The effectiveness of a parenting curriculum designed for parents who exhibit risk factors for child maltreatment was evaluated. Six skills were taught during a 5-week series of 3-hour classes that met 1 day per week. A written quiz containing questions corresponding to skills taught in each class was administered to participants before the series of classes, following each class session, and after completion of the course. Repeated administration of the quiz permitted an analysis of skill acquisition. A role-play assessment was conducted prior to and following the series of classes. Results demonstrate an improvement in the participants’ ability to recognize correct answers in a multiple-choice format and demonstrate the behavioral skills taught in class within a role-play context.
 


 

A Functional Approach to Reducing Runaway Behavior and Stabilizing Placements for Adolescents in Foster Care
Research on Social Work Practice 2008; 18; 429 originally published online Mar 24, 2008;
Hewitt B. Clark, Kimberly A. Crosland, David Geller, Michael Cripe, Terresa Kenney, Bryon Neff and Glen Dunlap

Teenagers’ running from foster placement is a significant problem in the field of child protection. This article describes a functional, behavior analytic approach to reducing running away through assessing the motivations for running, involving the youth in the assessment process, and implementing interventions to enhance the reinforcing value of placements for adolescents, thereby reducing the probability of running and associated unsafe periods. A case study illustrates this approach and a study compares 13 adolescents who ran away frequently and received interventions with a group of matched adolescents who had similar patterns of running but received only services as usual. The percentage of days on runaway status showed a significant pre-post reduction for those in the functional group, in contrast to no statistical change in the comparison group. Potential benefits this approach may have for foster care and child protection in improving youth safety, permanence, and connections for life are discussed.



Below are some graphs generated from peer reviewed studies on the training model that the BehaviorTools courses are based on.

The pilot program collected data on tools model training outcomes, such as this placement study. The 438 subjects were residential caregivers that had at least 3 placements in their homes. There were 329 in a control group which did not receive training. The other 109 subjects received a 30 hour tools model training. Before the training, the average placement durations of the two groups were the same. After training, the trained group nearly doubled the durations of placements in their homes.

 

 

 

This was the first phase of a multiple baseline design study. This phase took place in a short term residential placement and the intervention was tools model training with the staff. This was just tools training and did not include a coaching component. The restrictive procedures measured included seclusion, timeout, hands on crisis management procedures, emergency medications and mechanical restraint. Following training, the restrictive procedures were reduced by 47%. A more detailed breakdown is reported in the full journal article.

 

 

 

 

This is the second phase of the multiple baseline study and it took place at a locked residential facility that was operated by the same agency. The intervention included both tools training of all staff and on-the-floor coaching of 7 key staff. The same restrictive procedures were measured and after intervention they decreased by 70%.

More graphically displayed data documenting increased placement stability and reductions in targeted problem behaviors and crisis management procedures is available on request.