Program basics

  • Manualized, skills-based parent training program for caregivers of children 0-5
  • Brief parenting program (18 one-hour sessions) that addresses parent-child interactions, home safety, and child health
  • Highly structured but flexible in its delivery (depends on parent’s initial skills and skill acquisition)
  • Program has been shown to have specific benefit for families with risk factors for child maltreatment

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)


Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare; the second-highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Target population

Parents with children under the age of 5

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • SafeCare increases positive parent-child interactions, reduces hazards in families’ homes, and improves how parents care for their children’s health
  • Positive outcomes compared to services as usual or no services on several outcomes, including reduced parental depression, reduced future child maltreatment reports, improved program engagement and completion, and increased program satisfaction
  • Seen as culturally relevant by diverse groups including Latino and American Indian populations

Keys to successful implementation

  • SafeCare Providers are assigned a SafeCare Coach that supports them and conducts quality assurance, a requirement for SafeCare delivery. Coaches observe Providers’ sessions, score fidelity, and provide feedback and consultation.
  • Full-time SafeCare Providers have a caseload of 10-15 families, which allows them to provide ample attention and care to each client.
  • SafeCare includes one-on-one home visits between Providers and families.
  • SafeCare sessions are typically conducted weekly. Session delivery is no more than twice a week and no less than every two weeks to optimize skill acquisition and retention.
  • Parenting skills are taught through the process of: (1) explaining the skills and why they are important; (2) demonstrating how to do each skill; (3) having parents practice the skills; and (4) providing positive and corrective feedback to parents on their use of skills.
  • SafeCare is assessment driven to provide objective observation of parent’s skills. Assessments are conducted in every session.
  • To complete a module, a parent must demonstrate Mastery (100% correct use of skills) or Success (marked improvement as compared to Baseline Assessment).
  • Program materials can be made more accessible by reducing technical language, incorporating more pictures, adding culturally relevant examples, and by matching families to home visitors based on language, race, and ethnicity.

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