A Foundation of Strengths. A Vision of Justice. A Mission of Change.

Kaela Byers

Associate Research Professor
Primary office:
785-864-0269
Twente Hall
Room 205


Summary

Dr. Kaela Byers’ scholarship focuses on biodevelopmental and cross-systems approaches to promoting child and family well-being. Dr. Byers has a strong interest in applying advanced analytic approaches and a translational, prevention framework to family, organizational, and systems-level issues that impact young children. Her research to date addresses topics including social determinants of health and toxic stress, promotion of protective factors, child welfare and early childhood systems improvement, and implementation and outcomes evaluation. As an Associate Research Professor at the KU School of Social Welfare, Dr. Byers currently serves as Principal Investigator leading evaluation of the Kansas Family First Prevention Services Act Initiative, longitudinally evaluating the impact of prevention services to keep children safely at home, and as Lead Evaluator of Kansas Strong, a statewide initiative to strengthen child welfare systems in Kansas.

Research Interests

  • Early childhood social and emotional development
  • Child well-being
  • Social determinants of health and toxic stress
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Child maltreatment and neglect
  • Child welfare and maltreatment prevention.
    Methods: Structural Equation Modeling
  • Latent Class Analysis, Regression Modeling, Longitudinal Analysis, Community Based Participatory Research, Concept Mapping

Selected Publications

McCrae, J. S., Spain, A., Byers, K., Sander, A., & Axelrod, J. (2019). Evaluating community approaches to preventing or mitigating toxic stress (Research brief 1) [Research Reports]. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
McCrae, J. S., Laffan, A., Byers, K., McCrae, J. S., Lee, S., Campanella, S., Latterner, M., Hoyt, S., & Byshee, T. (2019). Key aspects of clinic capacity to assess pediatric healthcare quality using Electronic Health Records (Research brief 3) [Research Reports]. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
Akin, B., Byers, K., & Lloyd, M. (2016). Worker perspectives from the front line: Implementation of evidence-based interventions in child welfare settings [Journal Articles]. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(3), 870–882.
Akin, B., Byers, K., Lloyd, M., & McDonald, T. (2015). Joining formative evaluation with translational science to assess an EBI in foster care: Examining social-emotional well-being and placement stability [Journal Articles]. Children and Youth Services Review, 58, 253–264.
Walsh, T., Ocasio, K., McCourt, S., Byers, K., & Rostad, W. (2015). Promoting protective factors and strengthening resilience. [Book Chapters]. In D. Daro, A. C. Donnelly, L. A. Huang, & B. Powell (Eds.), Advances in Child Abuse Prevention Knowledge: The Perspective of New Leadership (pp. 203–236). Springer.
Seay, K., Byers, K., Feely, M., Lanier, P., & Maguire-Jack, K. (2015). Scaling up: Replicating promising intervention with fidelity [Book Chapters]. In D. Daro, A. C. Donnelly, L. A. Huang, & B. Powell (Eds.), Advances in Child Abuse Prevention Knowledge: The Perspective of New Leadership (pp. 179–202). Springer.
Byers, K., Johnson, T., Byrnes, K., Davis-Groves, S., & McDonald, T. (2014). Elevating stakeholder voice: Considering parent priorities in model development for community mental health center services [Journal Articles]. Children and Youth Servies Review, 43, 124–130.
Maguire-Jack, K., & Byers, K. (2014). The impact of prevention programs on decisions in child protective services [Journal Articles]. Child Welfare, 92(5), 59–86.
Johnson, T., Byers, K., Byrnes, K., Davis-Groves, S., & McDonald, T. (2013). Obtaining stakeholder consensus on the core components of a parent support and training model for parents of seriously emotionally disturbed children [Journal Articles]. Families in Society, 94(3), 211–219.

Selected Grants

Family First Prevention Services Act – Kansas Evaluation (FFPSA). Kansas Department of Children and Families. $2204743.00. Submitted 1/1/2020 (10/1/2019 - 6/30/2022). State of Kansas. Status: Funded. $2.2 million/3 years.
Kansas Strong for Children and Families (KS Strong). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families Strengthening Child Welfare Systems. $3100000.00. (1/1/2020). Federal. Status: Funded. $3.1 million/5 years. Role: Evaluator.

Social Welfare Events