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Current Projects

Developmental Needs and Service Receipt Among Latino Children of Immigrants in the U.S. Child Welfare System

Principal Investigator: Michelle Johnson-Motoyama, PhD

Research Staff: Mindi Moses, GRA

The provision of services to meet children’s developmental needs can improve outcomes for children at risk for delays, and potentially limit the impact of child maltreatment when it occurs. However, little is known about the developmental needs or services provided to children of Latino immigrants in the U.S. child welfare system. Moreover, little is known about the impact of federal policy changes that sought to increase access to early intervention services among young maltreated children. This study builds knowledge in these areas using data from the first and second National Surveys of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW). Findings will inform the development and dissemination of social work education and training curricula for the fields of child welfare and early child education. This project is funded by the Lois and Samuel Silberman Faculty Grant Program ($40,000) and the University of Kansas New Faculty General Research Fund ($8,000).

Evaluation of Cornerstones of Care Nurse Case Management Program

Principal Investigator: Amy N. Mendenhall, PhD

Research Staff: Sarah Tham, GRA

Since 2009, the Missouri Department of Social Services, Children’s Division, has contracted with Cornerstones of Care to provide Nurse Case Management (NCM) for children in foster care in Jackson County, and in 2013 Cass County was added to the program.  The Nurse Case Management Program aims to: 1) improve coordination of health care for children in foster care, 2) reduce health care risks that are unique to children in foster care, 3) increase positive health and mental health outcomes, 4) improve the placement stability for children in state custody, and 5) reduce the inappropriate  use and cost of psychotropic medications.  Cornerstones of Care has contracted with Dr. Amy Mendenhall to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in addressing these aims.  The evaluation will assess the overall impact of the program on children in foster care by tracking individual child level outcomes, assessing community knowledge and satisfaction with the program, soliciting feedback and satisfaction from youth and caregivers, and evaluating impact of medication trainings and consultations on professionals.  These evaluation activities will provide the program with feedback about potential areas of improvement and overall effectiveness of the program and feasibility of expansion.  The evaluation is funded through a subcontract from Cornerstones of Care as part of a grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and it is expected to occur from January 2014 to January 2015.

Evaluation of the QIC-ChildRep Training Program

Principal Investigator: Andrew Zinn, PhD

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the ChildRep training program for attorneys representing children in dependency (i.e., child welfare) cases in GA and WA. Data collection includes child welfare and juvenile court administrative data as well as longitudinal survey data collected from participating attorneys. The primary outcomes of interest are children's permanency and juvenile court outcomes. The evaluation is funded by the Children’s Bureau via the University of Michigan. The project began in 2011 and is anticipated to continue through 2016.

Expanded Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity for Family Drug Courts: Iowa Court Collaborative Evaluation

Principal Investigators: Michelle Johnson Motoyama, PhD; Jody Brook, PhD; Becci Akin, PhD

Research Staff: Mindi Moses, GRA

Iowa Court Collaborative (ICC) is a federally-funded project evaluating expanded substance abuse treatment capacities at five Iowa family drug courts.  The project includes implementation of two evidence-based parenting programs: Strengthening Families Program and Celebrating Families. This project partners with the Iowa Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee for Children’s Justice. Subcontract with Iowa State Court Administration. Primary funding from Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($175,500 over 5 years for evaluation). The project began in 2012 and is expected to end in 2017.

Families and Communities Together

Principal Investigators: Jody Brook, PhD; Becci Akin, PhD

Research Staff: Margaret Lloyd, GRA

Families and Communities Together (FACT) is a federally-funded Regional Partnership Grant project designed to expand the family drug court model in Wapello County, Iowa, to include a system of service coordination for families with children ages 0-12 who are in, or are at risk of entering, foster care placement due to parental substance abuse.  This project partners with the Iowa Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee for Children’s Justice.  Subcontract with Iowa State Court Administration. Primary funding from DHHS, Administration for Children and Families (primary funding for $2,500,000; subcontract amount approximately $500,000 over 5 years). The project began in 2012 and is expected to end in 2017.

Kansas Adoption Permanency Project (KAPP)

Principal Investigators: Becci Akin, PhD; Alice Lieberman, PhD

Project Manager: Kim Bruns, MS. Ed

Research Staff: Aly Romero, GRA; Margaret Lloyd, GRA; Jackie Bhattarai, PhD Candidate

The KAPP project is a five-year, $2.5 million project with the principal purpose to implement a child welfare and mental/behavioral health system that: (1) uses evidence-informed and evidence-based interventions matched to the needs of children and families; and (2) promotes strong social-emotional well-being and permanency outcomes, especially adoption outcomes. Project KAPP will be sustainable statewide, disseminate practical and useful products to child welfare stakeholders, and serve as a model site for child welfare systems (especially those that are privatized);that seek to improve safety, permanency, and well-being. Our primary goal is the implementation of a comprehensive approach for ongoing trauma-informed, age-appropriate, functional and outcomes-oriented screening and assessment that will guide case planning throughout the life of a case, for all adoption-eligible Kansas children.

Mariscal, S. E., Akin, B. A., Lieberman, A. A., & Washington, D. (2015). Exploring the path from foster care to stable and lasting adoption: Perceptions of foster care alumni. Children and Youth Services Review, 55(0), 111-120. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.05.017

Kansas Intensive Permanency Project (KIPP)

Principal Investigators: Becci Akin, PhD; Thomas McDonald, PhD

Project Manager: Kim Bruns, MS. Ed

Research Staff: Jackie Bhattarai, GRA; Sachiko Gomi, PhD Candidate; Yueqi Yan, PhD Candidate

KIPP is one of six cooperative agreements funded in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families’ Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII). PII is a five-year, multi-site demonstration project to improve permanency outcomes by targeting specific groups of children in foster care that experience the highest risk for long stays. PII aims to: (1) build the implementation and evaluation capacity of public child welfare systems, and (2) strengthen the child welfare evidence base for reducing long-term foster care. The initiative funded cooperative agreements between the ACYF and six grantees, each selecting a unique service approach to reducing long-term foster care.

In Kansas, KIPP is a statewide public-private partnership between the University of Kansas (KU) School of Social Welfare, Kansas Department for Children and Families, and Kansas’ private providers of foster care (KVC Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. and St. Francis Community and Family Services, Inc.). As a demonstration grant, KIPP is using a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of Parent Management Training, Oregon Model (PMTO) on well-being and permanency outcomes for families of children with serious emotional disturbance (SED). The project began in 2010 and will continue through 2015.

Related Publications:

Akin, B. A., Brook, J., & Lloyd, M. (in press). Co-occurrence of parental substance abuse and child serious emotional disturbance: Understanding multiple pathways to improved child and family outcomes. Child Welfare.

Akin, B. A., Bryson, S. A., McDonald, T. P., & Walker, S. (2012). Defining a target population at high-risk of long-term foster care: Barriers to permanency for families of children with severe emotional disturbances. Child Welfare, 91(6), 79-101.

Akin, B. A., Bryson, S. A., Testa, M. F., Blase, K. A., McDonald, T. P., & Melz, H. (2013). Usability testing, initial implementation, and formative evaluation of an evidence-based intervention: Lessons from a demonstration project to reduce long-term foster care. Evaluation and Program Planning, 41(0), 19-30. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2013.06.003

Akin, B. A., Mariscal, S. E., Bass, L., McArthur, V. B., Bhattarai, J., & Bruns, K. (2014). Implementation of an evidence-based intervention to reduce long-term foster care: Practitioner perceptions of key challenges and supports. Children and Youth Services Review, 46(0), 285-293. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.09.006

Akin, B. A., Testa, M. F., McDonald, T. P., Melz, H., Blase, K. A., & Barclay, A. (2014). Formative evaluation of an evidence-based intervention to reduce long-term foster care: Assessing readiness for summative evaluation. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1-29. doi: 10.1080/15548732.2014.939250

Bryson, S. A., Akin, B. A., Blase, K. A., McDonald, T. P., & Walker, S. (2014). Selecting an EBP to reduce long-term foster care: Lessons from a university-child welfare agency partnership. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 11(1-2), 208-221. doi: 10.1080/15433714.2013.850325

Kansas Serves Substance Affected Families (KSSAF)

Principal Investigators: Tom McDonald, PhD; Susana Mariscal, PhD

Project Manager: Kaela Byers, PhD, LMSW

Research Staff: Yueqi Yan, PhD, GRA; Kiley Liming, PhD Student, GRA; Tina Woods, Student Assistant; Cali Welch, Student Assistant; Kelsey Smith, Student Assistant

The KSSAF project is a five-year, $2.9 million project funded through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administration for Children and Families Regional Partnership Grant. Regional Partnership Grants seek to promote interagency collaboration to enhance services for substance-affected families, with a specific focus of improving safety, well-being, and permanency for children. KSSAF is conducted in partnership between the KU School of Social Welfare, the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, and the state’s two foster care agencies: KVC Kansas and Saint Francis Community Services Inc. KSSAF serves families with children ages zero to three who are in out-of-home placements due to reasons associated with parental substance use. KSSAF is implementing a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of the Strengthening Families Program: Birth to Three (SFP B-3) on safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families. The project began in 2014 and will continue through 2019.

The Oklahoma Partnership Initiative - 2 (OPI-2)

Principal Investigators: Jody Brook, PhD; Becci Akin, PhD

Research Staff: Yeuqi Yan, GRA; Margaret Lloyd, GRA

This project is a continuation of the Oklahoma Partnership Initiative, which is a federally-funded project to address the risks to children associated with parental substance abuse.  The primary goals include improving outcomes for children in, or at risk of entering, foster care by continued utilization of a universal substance abuse screen in the Oklahoma child welfare system. Primary funding from DHHS, Administration for Children and Families (primary funding for $3,250,000; subcontract amount approximately $500,000 over 5 years). The project began in 2012 and will end in 2017.

Results Oriented Management (ROM) Reports for Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Children's Mental Health

Principal Investigator: Terry Moore, MSW

ROM Reports is a multi-tiered, web-based reporting system designed to give all levels of agency staff direct access to outcomes and other performance and descriptive data. Using current data from an agency’s administrative database, the software provides a wide array of repots (e.g., CFSR Federal Outcomes, in-home services) in graphs and tables according to user set parameters including management unit and time period. Data is presented in various views including trend over time, management unit comparisons, and crosstabs (e.g., comparing age groups, race, judicial districts, etc.). The report system is being used in 12 states. ROM is being used for child welfare reports in 11 states, and is being used for reporting mental health and juvenile justice data in three states.

Users of the report system can retrieve or “drill down” to all levels of the agency (i.e., state, regional, office, supervisor, and worker) and to the case level, thus retrieving a listing of cases with user-selected data elements in a spreadsheet. Individual users can customize the report system for their use, such as selecting default management unit (from regions to worker levels) or selecting a set of performance measures most relevant to their responsibilities. The filter utility provides the user with the option of analyzing the data for any sub-population. Analytic tools are continually being added to support managers with identifying where to focus improvement efforts.

ROM Reports is funded by the following sources: State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services; TFI Family Services, Inc.; State of Maine Office of Child and Family Services; State of Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services; Missouri Department of Social Services; State of Connecticut Department of Children & Families; State of Oregon Department of Human Services; State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services; State of Colorado Department of Human Services; State of Vermont Department for Children and Families.

ROM Reports can be customized for any social service agency with a functioning management information system with client level data. For more information and a demonstration of the reports, please contact Terry Moore at terrym@ku.edu or 785-864-8938.


ROM Workgroup Report: Agency Reporting on Racial Disproportionality and Disparity (pdf)

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