241370 Testing an intervention to improve knowledge and use of family leave programs by parents of newborns and children with special health care needs

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Max W. Hadler, BA , Family Leave Study, UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, Los Angeles, CA
Sahar Ghafari , Family Leave Study, UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, Los Angeles, CA
Camillia K. Lui, MPH, MA , Family Leave Study, UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, Los Angeles, CA
Burton O. Cowgill, PhD, MPH , UCLA School of Public Health, UCLA/RAND Prevention Reseach Center, Los Angeles, CA
Jennifer Patch, BA , UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, Los Angeles, CA
Paul J. Chung, MD, MS , Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Family leave programs (including federal, state, local, and employer-provided benefits) allow parents to care for a newborn or seriously ill child. Use of these programs, however, is limited even among parents with clear need. This study seeks to develop and pilot-test an intervention to improve knowledge and use of family leave programs among these parents.

Methods: Using findings from semi-structured qualitative parent interviews as a platform, we collaborated with community stakeholders (physicians, social workers, parents, HR managers, and an employment lawyer) to develop a half-hour interactive session for parents that determines eligibility for and provides guidance on specific family leave programs. We recruit employed parents from prenatal clinics and hospitals in Los Angeles. Parents are randomized into intervention (session plus education materials) and control (publicly available education materials only) groups. Each group completes baseline, 2-month and 12-month follow-up surveys. Main study outcomes include knowledge and use of leave and effects on parent and child physical and emotional health.

Results: Preliminary assessments reveal high satisfaction with the sessions, improved knowledge of leave benefits, and higher self-efficacy in leave planning in the intervention group. Follow-up assessments will allow for comparisons of use of leave benefits and duration of leave-taking between intervention and control parents.

Discussion: Family leave programs are a potentially crucial tool for employed parents when their children require their presence and care. This intervention, developed collaboratively with community partners, may prove to be an effective method of increasing awareness and use of existing programs.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the key elements of a family leave intervention program designed to improve parentsí knowledge and use of leave programs 2) Identify three parent outcomes as a result of participating in the family leave interventions 3) Discuss the study implications for health care service delivery, public health practice, and policy

Keywords: Family Involvement, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research fellow and family leave specialist who performs recruitment, data collection, and intervention delivery for the study described in the submitted abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.