Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) -Infant Meets HHS Criteria

Last updated: 2020

Model overview

Theoretical approach

The intervention is based on attachment theory and stress neurobiology. View Revisions

Model services

ABC-Infant is a training program for caregivers. It is delivered in the family’s home by a parent coach. Sessions 1 and 2 are designed to help caregivers reinterpret children’s behavioral signals, providing nurturing even when it is not elicited. Sessions 3 and 4 are designed to help caregivers learn to follow their children’s lead. Sessions 5 and 6 are designed to help caregivers recognize their own overwhelming or frightening behaviors and develop alternative responses. Sessions 7 and 8 are designed to help caregivers overcome automatic responses to their children that are based on their own experiences and could interfere with providing nurturing, sensitive care. Sessions 9 and 10 are designed to reinforce knowledge gained during previous sessions.

Per the program development team, the most crucial aspect of the intervention is the parent coach’s use of immediate feedback (referred to as "in the moment" comments) on the caregiver’s interaction with the child. Throughout the home visiting session, the parent coach comments on the caregiver’s interactions to help the caregiver attend to the target behaviors, including following the child’s lead with delight, using nurturing behaviors, and avoiding frightening behaviors. During the session, the parent coach and caregiver also watch a video of the caregiver interacting with the child. The parent coach highlights the caregiver’s strengths, celebrates changes in behavior, and identifies areas for improvement. The model also incorporates homework to give caregivers the opportunity to practice the skills they are learning and record their observations about their own behavior and the child’s behavior.

View Revisions

Intended population

ABC-Infant is a training program for caregivers of infants between the ages of 6 and 24 months, including high-risk birth parents and caregivers of young children in foster care, kinship care (for example, a grandparent raising a grandchild), and adoptive care. View Revisions

Where to find out more

Caroline Roben, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716

View Revisions