Professors Faith McClure and Laura Kamptner started the Maternal Intervention Project with hopes of helping moms emotionally connect with their children.
The goals: get them to bond, change mothers' bad behavior and keep the children out of the cycle of incarceration.
And from early returns, that's happening, according to the university.
The grant allowed the professors to study 300 incarcerated mothers at Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore and provided parent-education classes and joint therapy designed to prepare parents and children for life after jail.
McClure, Kamptner and their students found that after completing the program, participants felt "more competent" as parents, were more involved with their children and were more capable of using the parenting skills they learned in the classes, according to the university.
The professors were optimistic about the early results.
"These results are highly promising because research shows that strengthening families, especially parent-child attachment, is critical in facilitating children's psychological well-being, successful relationships andacademic endeavors," according to a statement from McClure provided by the university.
Ultimately, researchers hope that such intervention can reduce the number of returning mothers and their children to jail or prison.
Through what the researchers call a holistic approach, inmates can learn from their mistakes.
The findings have been presented to a number of academic conferences, and the professors and their students are writing some of the data for publication, including a manual that describes the parenting approach.
Contact Ryan Carter at 909-386-3885.