McSilver Gets NICHD R01 Grant to Study Child Maltreatment Intervention

Picture of a mother and young child, with the NIH logo superimposed

The Safe Mothers Safe Children clinical trial will focus on caregivers in the hopes of reducing repeated instances of maltreatment in families involved in child welfare systems.

NEW YORK — May 26, 2021 — The NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research has received federal funding to study a novel child maltreatment intervention called Safe Mothers Safe Children (SMSC) in a randomized controlled clinical trial. The study will receive funding of $3.5 million over 5 years from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health.

SMSC seeks to reduce the risk of repeated child maltreatment by caregivers who are receiving preventive services within child welfare systems, by using the Parenting Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation (PSTAIR) intervention. PSTAIR is adapted from the Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR) intervention, which is designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and use parent-child interaction therapy to foster positive parenting, enhance maternal and child well-being, and reduce child maltreatment. Prior to receiving funding for the randomized controlled clinical trial, SMSC completed a pilot study funded by the Robin Hood Foundation

“Repeated exposure to abuse and neglect substantially increases the likelihood of poor child and adult life outcomes, yet current child welfare family preservation services do not reduce the likelihood that maltreatment will continue in a given situation,” says Michael A. Lindsey, PhD, MSW, MPH, executive director of the McSilver Institute and lead researcher for the SMSC study. “This study will determine whether our Parenting Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation (PSTAIR) intervention, which targets maternal PTSD-related parenting deficits, would reduce repeated instances of maltreatment. If found to be effective, P-STAIR will reduce maltreatment recidivism among high-risk child welfare system-involved mothers, thus improving the lives of children and families and reducing the stigma against mothers. It will also offer an intervention that is ready for dissemination in child welfare systems and will alter real-world clinical practice.”

The research team for the study includes Dr. Lindsey; Dr. Kathrine Sullivan, Assistant Professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work; Dr. James Jaccard, Emeritus Professor at the Silver School; and Dr. Melody Goodman, Associate Dean for Research at the NYU School of Global Public Health. McSilver Clinical Director Dr. Mercedes J. Okosi has contributed to SMSC as a clinician.

About the NYU McSilver Institute

The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University is committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and best practices. Each year it holds the McSilver Awards, recognizing extraordinary leaders transforming systems to tackle structural poverty and oppression. Learn more at and sign up for updates.

Media Contact: Sheryl Huggins Salomon,

Photo of Dr. Michael A. Lindsey
Michael A. Lindsey, PhD, MSW, MPH
Dean of the Silver School of Social Work