Boston University School of Social Work Associate Professor Ruth Paris will lead an evaluation study of Project BRIGHT II (Building Resilience through Intervention: Growing Healthier Together). Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Project BRIGHT II is an intervention designed to address traumatic stress in children ages birth to 7 and their mothers in recovery from substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders at 3 outpatient Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) in Massachusetts that offer methadone maintenance treatment and counseling.

During the four-year project, trained clinicians will provide a dyadic intervention based on the principles of Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) to families on site at OTP programs. Simultaneously, they will train OTP staff in the practices and strategies critical for addressing mothers and children’s trauma histories with the goal of supporting parent-child relationships. CPP is an evidence-based practice developed specifically to address the impact of traumatic experiences on young children and their parents. It will be adapted to address the specific needs of families in outpatient treatment for substance abuse.

The evaluation team, led by Professor Ruth Paris, will assess Project BRIGHT II’s impact on reducing trauma symptoms in children, building the parent-child relationship, and increasing parental competence. Project Bright II’s assessment will measure the extent that the BRIGHT II intervention reaches its purpose both at the individual and program levels. At the individual level, improvements on children’s emotional health and parents’ understanding of optimal parenting will be examined.  At the program level, a process evaluation will be administered to ensure ongoing quality improvement.

Project BRIGHT II is a joint initiative, led by the Institute for Health and Recovery (IHR), in collaboration with Jewish Family and Children’s Service’s (JF&CS) Center for Early Relationship Support (CERS), Boston University’s (BU) School of Social Work (SSW), and in consultation with Boston Medical Center’s Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP).

Project BRIGHT II follows the completion of a three-year grant from SAMHSA to evaluate Project BRIGHT (Building Resilience through Intervention: Growing Healthier Together).  Project BRIGHT, which operated from 2009-2012, was a new dyadic intervention designed to address traumatic stress in children (birth to five years old) and their parents who were in recovery from substance abuse disorders and co-occurring disorders. The project brought the CPP-informed program to families at 8 Family Residential Treatment (FRT) centers across Massachusetts. The evaluation of Project BRIGHT found the following:

  • Women who participated in Project BRIGHT showed significant improvement for psychological distress, especially among women of color/Hispanic women.
  • Women who improved the most on psychological distress at follow-up also reported less endorsement of corporal punishment and greater parental reflective functioning
  • These same mothers were rated as most improved in parent-child relationships by the BRIGHT clinician observers
  • None of these positive changes were found in a comparison group of participants who were engaged in the same residential substance abuse treatment but not Project BRIGHT.

To learn more about Project BRIGHT, please click here.