A major goal of the D&P Lab is to translate our developmental research findings into effective prevention and intervention strategies for at-risk children and families. To that end, we are currently conducting a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief, home-based intervention for maltreated preschool-aged children and their mothers.

The Heart to Heart project was launched in 2013 and is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD071933 01A1).

Practicum in Child Maltreatment & Foster Care

Members of the D&P lab are also dedicated to providing service to children and families in the South Bend community. Service opportunities are available for undergraduate students through Dr. Valentino’s Practicum in Child Maltreatment course. This course, generally offered during the Fall semester, is intended to expose advanced undergraduate Psychology students to the child welfare system and the effects of child maltreatment and foster care on child development. 


In this course each student is paired with a child who is currently placed in foster care because of substantiated child maltreatment. The student serves as a mentor to this child, and spends 1-2 hours with the child twice weekly in the child’s foster home. The in-class portion of the course includes discussion of current research on child maltreatment, foster care, child development, and developmental psychopathology. Class time is also devoted to training on mandated reporting, and learning about the child welfare system. The practicum portion of the course is designed to give students hands on experience with children in custody of the Department of Child Services in South Bend. 

You may contact Prof. Valentino for additional information.