ABC Intervention | ABC and COVID-19
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ABC and COVID-19

ABC and COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the daily life of families across the globe, increasing the physical, financial, and emotional needs of our most vulnerable parents, children, and communities. In response to the likely increased needs for ABC, and the restrictions and concerns for home visiting due to social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, we have created guidance for meeting with families remotely: TeleABC.


Thanks to the partnership and incredible efforts of our parent coaches in training in 2020, we were able to evaluate virtual implementation, finding that ABC was conducted through telehealth with fidelity, with impressively high commenting rates and quality(1). We also find significant improvement in parental sensitivity from pre- to post-intervention when sessions are conducted entirely through telehealth and hybrid telehealth/in-person(2). With this evidence, we feel confident that TeleABC can serve as an excellent substitute for in- person ABC as the pandemic continues to evolve.

We have created protocols for conducting ABC sessions, including live commenting and manual content, through telehealth platforms. Children can express their stress or feelings in confusing ways, such as acting angry or disruptive when feeling confused or upset, or turning or pulling away from a parent who is trying to comfort them. As with in-home ABC, TeleABC helps parents recognize cues for nurturance, even when they are not clear. In typical conditions ABC sessions include conversation about what can make it harder to nurture your distressed child and follow the lead during play, and what kind of circumstances and history make it easier to frighten your infant or toddler. TeleABC includes this outlook as well, with a focus on how the fear, uncertainty, and increased stress can decrease parental resources and increase stress and irritability. TeleABC’s goal is to provide supportive guidance for parents to provide nurturing, sensitive care to young children during these stressful times.


ABC-certified parent coaches and parent coaches in training have access to the TeleABC guidance. If you have interest in learning more about this approach, please contact Dr. Caroline Roben at


1 Roben, C. K. P., Kipp, E. C., Schein, S. S., Costello, A. H., & Dozier, M. (in press). Transitioning to telehealth due to COVID-19: Maintaining model fidelity in a home visiting program for parents of vulnerable infants. Infant Mental Health Journal.
2 Schein, S. S., Roben, C. K. P., Costello, A. H., & Dozier, M. (2021). Home visiting through telehealth during a pandemic: Transitioning to virtual visits with effectiveness. Manuscript submitted for review.

Additional Information and Resources


[1] Gros, D.F., Morland, L.A., Greene, C.J., Acierno, R., Strachan, M., Egede, L.E., …& Frueh, B.C. (2013). Delivery of evidence-based psychotherapy via video telehealth. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35, 506-521.

2 Wrape, E.R. & McGinn, M.M. (2019). Clinical and ethical considerations for delivering couple and family therapy via telehealth. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 45, 296-308.