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Sustainability and Clinical outcome of AF-CBT

Evaluation of the sustainability and clinical outcome of Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) in a child protection center.

David J. Kolko, Anne-Marie R. Iselin, Kevin J. Gully


This paper examines the sustainability and outcome of Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) as delivered by practitioners in a community-based child protection program who had received training in the model several years earlier. Formerly described as Abuse-Focused CBT, AF-CBT is an evidence-based treatment (EBT) for child physical abuse and family aggression/conflict that was included in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's initial EBT dissemination efforts in 2002. Seven practitioners participated in a year-long learning collaborative in AF-CBT and in similar training programs for 4 other EBTs. The agency's routine data collection system was used to document the clinical and adjustment outcomes of 52 families presenting with a physically abused child who received their services between 2 and 5 years after the AF-CBT training had ended. Measures of the use of all 5 EBTs documented their frequency, internal consistency, and intercorrelations. Controlling for the unique content of the other four EBTs, the amount of AF-CBT Abuse-specific content delivered was related to improvements on standardized parent rating scales (i.e., child externalizing behavior, anger, anxiety, social competence) and both parent and clinician ratings of the child's adjustment at discharge (i.e., child more safe, less scared/sad, more appropriate with peers). The amount of AF-CBT General content was related to a few discharge ratings (better child prognosis, helpfulness to parents). These novel data provide suggestive evidence for the sustainability and clinical benefits of AF-CBT in an existing community clinic serving physically abused children and their families, and are discussed in the context of key developments in the treatment model and dissemination literature.


Kolko, D.J., Iselin, A.M., & Gully, K.J. (2011). Evaluation of the sustainability and clinical outcome of Alternatives for Families: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) in a child protection center. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 105-163 . doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.09.004

Full article available from the Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect.


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