Child maltreatment has significant short- and long-term psychological, physical, and educational consequences on individual, familial, and societal levels. Although much research has examined the effectiveness of day treatment programs for children with severe behavior problems, most of this research focuses on elementary school aged children. There is little research on day treatment for younger maltreated children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess behavioral outcomes of preschool-aged maltreated children who completed a day treatment program. An additional goal of this study was to address a barrier in current day treatment research by utilizing a standardized measure to assess behavior outcomes. Forty-one girls and 63 boys who completed a day treatment program were assessed using a retrospective, single-cohort design tested at intake, discharge, and 4-year follow-up. Behavior functioning was assessed using two forms from the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessments (ASEBA), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Teacher Report Form (TRF). Repeated measures t-tests and analyses of variance showed behavior improvement between intake and 4-year follow-up. Overall, the results suggest that maltreated preschool-aged children who completed a day treatment program displayed improved behaviors and were functioning in less restrictive school placements and more stable home environments.
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