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Current Projects List

Evaluation Projects

The Collaboration to AdoptUsKids

The purpose of this project is operate and maintain a National Adoption Information Exchange System (NAIES) and the National Adoption Internet Photolisting Web site, AdoptUsKids. CWLA will be evaluating the link between these approaches to the predicted outcomes of increased adoptions of special needs children and numbers of foster and adoptive parents as well as the implementation and effectiveness of the approaches.

Contact: Amy Hubbard, Ph.D., Research Associate,
                 Oronde Miller, M.S., Senior Research Assistant,

Best Practices in Behavior Support and Intervention

Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this is a three-year, multisite training demonstration project. In partnership with the Federation of Families for Mental Health, CWLA acts as a coordinating center in the provision of restraint and seclusion training in programs that serve children and youth. CWLA will evaluate the project and will disseminate the resulting findings to promote identified best practices in restraint and seclusion. Please visit project website at:

Contact: Darren Fulmore, Ph.D., Research Associate,
                 Katie Johnson, M.S.W., M.P.P., Research Assistant,

Evaluation of the Adoption Support Services for Kinship Caregivers and Their Adolescents

Funded by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and located in Washington, DC, this project is designed to improve permanency, safety and well-being for adolescents with special emphasis on reducing the number of kinship adoption disruptions. The project will provide support services to kinship caregiver families that have opted to adopt their adolescent kinship child. CWLA and its partner, D.C. Child & Family Services Agency, expect to show an increase in the kinship caregivers readiness to adopt; improved caregiver and adolescent conflict and communication skills, and decrease in adolescent behavior problems. As a result of these services the number of kinship adoption disruptions will be reduced.

Contact: Michele Livojevic-Davis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation,

Evaluation of the Central Baptist Family Services Multiple Systemic Therapy (MST) Programs

This 18-month evaluation of two MST programs administered by Central Baptist Family Services in Southside and Westside Chicago Neighborhoods is assessing the programs' success in reducing recidivism rates among serious juvenile offenders, the programs' target population. The evaluation will also examine the differing effects of urban or suburban communities on program outcomes.

Contact: Michele Livojevic-Davis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation,

Evaluation of Children Missing from Care

The Children Missing from Care Project is a one-year, joint project between CWLA and the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and aims to provide comprehensive guidance to child welfare and law enforcement agencies on monitoring the status of children in the custody of the child welfare agency and responding when any one of these children is missing. The project is a response to the nation's heightened awareness of the risks children face when they "go missing" from an agency's care - whether due to their overt action (such as running away), the actions of others (such as abduction), or the inattentiveness of the custodial agency. The evaluation will assess the process of developing and disseminating practice guidelines and providing technical assistance to the state of Florida to enhance its capacity to monitor the whereabouts and safety of children in foster care and to effectively respond when a foster child is missing.

Contact: Alicia Drais-Parrillo, Ph.D., Research Associate,

Evaluation of Enhanced Support Services for Kinship Caregivers

Funded by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. DHHS and located in Baltimore, Maryland, this project was designed to improve the safety, permanency planning, and well-being of children by providing enhanced support services to kinship caregivers. The evaluation compared differences in child safety, permanency planning, child well-being, and consumer satisfaction between those kinship caregivers who receive support services and those who do not.

Contact: Michele Livojevic-Davis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation,

International People-To-People Exchange

With the support of the State Department, CWLA will evaluate an exchange between child welfare professionals in the US and a major child protection agency in Delhi, India. The goal is to establish relationships with counterpart colleagues in other countries. While the content of the exchange will broadly cover child protection, the Indian authorities has a particular interest in citizen participation and advocacy, and strengthening the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The exchange will send US child protection workers to Delhi for about ten days to learn from child welfare professionals and to expose them to US methods and ideas. India will select about 8 professionals to visit the US for approximately two weeks. While in DC, they will visit national agencies, local agencies, and government officials.

Contact: Michele Livojevic-Davis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation,


Funded by the KnowledgeWorks Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio, this research project investigates the educational status, achievement, and needs of youth in foster care in Ohio, documents a variety of outcomes for youth six months after they have left foster care, and identifies the best predictors of their success and failure.

Contact: Margo Coleman, Ph.D., External Research Consultant,

Lucas County Children's Services

CWLA in conjunction with Beech Acres in Cincinnati, Ohio is conducting a study to assess the educational needs of foster care children in Lucas County, Ohio. As part of the project, there will be a review of administrative data, focus groups conducted with child welfare workers and parents, and interviews with key informants in Lucas County, Ohio.

Contact: Margo Coleman, Ph.D., External Research Consultant,

LGBTQ Young people and Adults and the Child Welfare System Project

The Transition: LGBTQ Project is a collaboration Of CWLA and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.. It is a three year project with the primary objective of initiating a transition that will result in measurably increased will and capacity on the part of the child welfare systems nationwide to deal equitably and constructively with young people, family members, and employees who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning their sexual orientation (LGBTQ). The process and summative evaluation described here is based on the Appreciative Inquiry perspective, as prescribed by the funding agency, ANDRUS Family Fund. The AI perspective's core concept is "the collection of people's stories of something at its best" (Gervase R. Bushe, Five Theories of Change Embedded in Appreciative Inquiry, 1998). This evaluation will be based on one of the five AI approaches, Social Constructionism.

Contact: Michele Livojevic-Davis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation,

Original Research

Odyssey Project

The Odyssey Project has grown from a modest request for research assistance from a member agency into an important national study of out-of-home care. Participants included children and youth that entered residential treatment or therapeutic foster care during the first four years of data collection. Subjects were assessed as they initially obtained services and were reassessed annually and at discharge; participants continued to be assessed six months, one year, and two years after discharge from care. Twenty-two CWLA member agencies contributed data to the project.

The following member agencies were involved throughout the project and granted permission to list their names and addresses:

Bellefaire Jewish Children's Bureau, Cleveland, OH
Bonnie Brae, Liberty Corner, NJ
Campagna Academy, Schererville, IN
Children's Bureau of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
The Devereux Foundation, Orlando, FL
The Children's Village, Dobbs Ferry, NY
Edwin Gould Academy, Chestnut Ridge, NY
Family and Children's Center, Mishawaka, IN
Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, New York, NY
Jewish Child Care Association, New York, NY
KidsPeace, Orefield, PA
Leake and Watts Services, Yonkers, NY
Presbyterian Child Welfare Agency, Buckhorn, KY
Professional Association of Treatment Homes, St. Paul, MN
Ryther Child Center, Seattle, WA
Saint Vincent's Home, Fall River, MA
The Spurwink School, Portland, ME
The Villages of Indiana, Bloomington, IN

Contact: Alicia Drais-Parrillo, Ph.D., Research Associate,

Membership Support

Salary Study

The Salary Study is a biennial survey of salaries and benefits that is circulated by CWLA. Typically, the survey is sent to CWLA's public and private member agencies that provide services to children and families. Like the previous survey, the 2003 Salary Study was also sent to officials responsible for juvenile justice programming. The questionnaires, as in the past, inquired about salaries, staff turnover, and general agency operations, such as budget, services offered, geographic coverage, etc. Questions on benefits address tuition reimbursement, leave policies, health care retirement programs, compensatory time, and overtime pay. A few questions added this year cover workforce issues, such reasons for resigning. The categories of staff covered in the 2003 Salary Study include management, casework, child day care, residential care, probation officers, and counselors, among   others.

Order the published Salary Study.

Contact: Alicia Drais-Parrillo, Ph.D., Research Associate,

Trends and Issues Survey

This biennial survey delineates the issues important to CWLA members and provides direction for CWLA services. The findings are interpreted with consideration given to agency auspices and service areas, as well as geographic areas. The questionnaire inquired about the most pressing issues affecting children in care, and general agency operations, such as budget, services offered, geographic coverage, and other issues. In addition, the surveys now include more questions on member preference for and satisfaction with CWLA services. An electronic version of the survey is now available at the link below.

  Log in to the CWLA Members Only website to see the survey

Contact: Darren Fulmore, Ph.D., Research Associate,
                Rob Mckeagney: Technical Services Manager,

Organizational Support

Internal Review Board (IRB)

This administrative body was established to protect the rights and welfare of participants in human research. This review board-which functions separately from, but in coordination with, other CWLA committees-independently determines whether or not to approve research on the basis of the project's proposed protections for human subjects. The IRB meets all standards that apply to federally funded research and complies with the regulations set forth by the U.S. DHHS Office for Human Research Protections.

Contacts: Darren Fulmore, Ph.D., Research Associate,


National Council on Research in Child Welfare

The National Council on Research in Child Welfare comprises agency, association, and university-based researchers; agency executives; representatives from the federal government; and representatives from the private sector. All are chosen for their expertise in and support of research in child welfare. The Council's mission is to promote and use empirically based, interdisciplinary knowledge to advance practice and to inform public policy in behalf of children and their families.

Contact: Alicia Drais-Parrillo, Ph.D.., Research Associate,

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Integrating Systems of Care: Improving Quality of Care for the Most Vulnerable Children and Their Families

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), this project seeks to create a broad consensus research agenda that describes both an advocacy (policy and social marketing) and research agenda that is meaningful, realistic, and one that can be sustained across the child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health (substance abuse and mental health) service systems. The Research Workgroup will address what are the knowledge gaps; what new knowledge needs to be created; how to address current research barriers e.g. involvement of consumers/families, cross discipline/system efforts; possibly propose new research projects and suggest new methods for improving dissemination and implementation of best practices.

Contact: Darren Fulmore, Ph.D., Research Associate,

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