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CHILD & FAMILY WELL-BEING

Promoting Child and Family Well-being through prevention, intervention and system change.

Families play an essential role in the development of children and the health and well-being of our communities. Researchers in the School of Social Welfare engage in empirically informed research and training initiatives to promote the health and well-being of children and families and to improve systems that serve families. Areas of study include child welfare, early childhood, domestic violence, schools, and gender and sexual minority youth.

 

 

Research Projects

Kansas Strong Children & Families

  • PI: Akin, Becci; Co-PI: Zinn, A and Brook, J.
  • Funder: Administration on Children & Families
  • Dates: 10/1/18 to 9/1/23

Kansas Serves Substance Affected Families

  • PI: Brook, Jody
  • Funder: Administration on Children & Families
  • Dates: 09/30/14 to 09/30/19

Heartland Sexual Assault Policies & Prevention on Campuses Project

  • PI: Doan, A; Co-PIs: Carlson, J. M. and Mabachi, N.
  • Funder: US Department of Health & Human Services
  • Dates: 7/15/16 to 6/30/19

Attachment Bio-Behavioral Catch-Up Early Childhood Initiative

  • PI: Mendenhall, A.N.
  • Funder: United Methodist Health Ministry Fund
  • Dates:  5/1/17 to 4/30/20

Evaluation for the Quality Improvement Center on Child Welfare Involved Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence

  • PI: Carlson, Juliana; Co-PI: Akin, Becci
  • Funders: Futures Without Violence and US Department of Health & Human Services
  • Dates: 09/30/16 to 09/29/21

Kansas Assessment Permancy Project

  • PI: Akin, Becci; Co-PI: Liberman, A. and Brook, J.
  • Funder: Administration on Children & Families
  • Dates: 10/1/13 to 9/1/19

Evaluation Services for the Oklahoma Regional Partnership 3 Grant to Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanacy Outcomes for, Children Affected by Substance Abuse

  • PI: Brook, Jody; Co-PIs: Mendenhall, A.N. and Akin, Becci
  • Funder: Oklahoma Department of Mental Health, SAMHSA, Administration on Children & Families
  • Dates: 10/01/17 to 09/1/22

Kansas Serves Native American Families

  • PI: Levy, Michelle; Co-PI: Mendenhall, A.N.
  • Funder: Administration on Children & Families
  • Dates: 09/29/17 to 09/29/21

Medicaid Agreement: Child & Adolescent Functional Assesment Scale Third Party Review

  • PI: Mendenhall, A.N.
  • Dates: 09/01/18 to 08/31/19

Parenting in the Context of Addiction Recovery

  • PI: Kepple, Nancy
  • Funder: University of Kansas
  • Dates: 05/05/17 to 05/04/19

Transgender Youth and Their Communities: A qualitative exploration of the relationship between community climate, shame, internalized transphobia and well-being

  • PI: Paceley, Megan
  • Funder: University of Kansas New Faculty General Research Fund
  • Dates: 05/01/17 to 05/01/19

FACULTY & RESEARCHERS

 

Becci Akin, Associate Professor, PhD Program Director

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Scholarship Focus
Understanding the keys to successful implementation and effective and equitable interventions for families involved in child welfare.

 Grand Challenge
Ensure healthy development for all youth. Stop family violence.

Jody Brook, Associate Professor

Jody Brook

Scholarship Focus
Substance abuse across the lifespan; child welfare; family drug courts; substance abuse prevention; community substance abuse strategies; mixed research methods.

 Grand Challenge
Close the health gap. Ensure healthy development for all youth. Advance long and productive lives.

Juliana Carlson, Assistant Professor

Juliana Carlson

Scholarship Focus
International organizational practices to engage men in gender-based violence prevention; formal support of new and expectant fathers to reduce child exposure to domestic violence; economic and social justice for families.

 Grand Challenge
Stop family violence.

Crystal Coles, Associate Professor

Crystal Coles

Scholarship Focus
Child welfare and the intersection of the African-American/Black diaspora through the lens of health disparities in rural and urban communities; focusing on the child and maternal well-being as a preventative method of children transitioning into the foster care system.

 Grand Challenge
Ensure healthy development for all youth.

Nancy Jo Kepple, Assistant Professor

Nancy Jo Kepple

Scholarship Focus
Social consequences of the availability, distribution and use of psychoactive substances; substance use behaviors among parenting populations; the role of parent substance use in child welfare decision-making; and racial/ethnic disparities within the child welfare system.

 Grand Challenge
Stop family violence. Ensure healthy development for all youth. Eradicate social isolation.

Alice Lieberman, Professor

Alice Lieberman

Scholarship Focus
Social work education in child welfare; workforce issues in child welfare; generalist social work education pedagogy.

 Grand Challenge
Ensure health development for all youth.

Amy Mendenhall, Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Research

Amy Mendenhall

Scholarship Focus
Children’s mental health including serious mental illness, service utilization, parent and child education and the impact of mental illness on children and their families.

 Grand Challenge
Achieve equal opportunity and justice. Close the health gap. Ensure health development for all youth.

Terry Moore, Project Director

Terry Moore

Scholarship Focus
Child welfare management; management reporting; use of data in program improvement planning and management decision making; outcomes research; program evaluation; risk assessment; and abuse/neglect prevention with public assistance populations.

 Grand Challenge
Achieve equality opportunity and justice. Harness technology for social good.

Megan Paceley, Assistant Professor, DEI Coordinator

Megan Paceley

Scholarship Focus
Understanding the impact of non-urban communities on the health and well-being of gender and sexual minority (GSM) youth; development, sustainability, and evaluation of gender and sexual minority community organizations.

 Grand Challenge
Eradicate social isolation. Achieve equal opportunity and justice. Close the health gap. Create social responses to a changing environment. Ensure healthy development for all youth. Stop family violence. Advance long and productive lives.


Research Office Contacts
Amy Mendenhall
Associate Dean for Research
amendenhall@ku.edu
785-864-4792
 
Jenni Atwood
Research Office Manager
atwoodj@ku.edu
785-864-7368
Social Welfare Research Events
Recent Publications & Presentations
Akin, B. A., & McDonald, T. (2018). Randomized study of PMTO in foster care: Reunification outcomes. Child Abuse & Neglect, 83, 94-105.
 
Williford, A., & Zinn, A. (2018). Classroom-Level Differences in Child-Level Bullying Experiences: Implications for Prevention and Intervention in School Settings. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(1).
 
Elliott, W., Kite, B., O’Brien, M., Lewis, M., & Palmer, A. (2018). Initial elementary education findings from Promise Indiana’s children’s savings account program. Children and Youth Services Review, 85, 295-306.
 
Akin, B. A., Brook, J., Johnson-Motoyama, M., Paceley, M., & Davis, S. (in press). Engaging substance-affected families in child welfare: Parent perspectives of a parenting intervention at program initiation and completion. Journal of Family Social Work.
 
Akin, B. A., Lang, K., McDonald, T., Yan, Y., & Little, T. (2018). Randomized study of PMTO in foster care: Six-month parent outcomes. Research on Social Work Practice, 28(7), 810-826.
 
Moon, D.J., Damman, J.L., & Romero, A. (2018). The effects of primary care–based parenting interventions on parenting and child behavioral outcomes: A systematic review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1524838018774424.
 
 
Moon, J., & Akin, B. (2018). Parenting practice changes during Parent Management Training Oregon Model with parents of children in foster care: A growth curve analysis. 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). Washington D.C.
 
Lloyd, M., Akin, B., & Brook, J. (2018). Parental Drug Use and Permanency for Young Children in Foster Care: A Competing Risks Analysis of Reunification, Guardianship and Adoption. Society for Social Work and Research, 22nd Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.
 
Grube, W. & Liming, K. (2018). ​A systematic review: Findings on attachment bio behavioral catch up (ABC). Poster presentation at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice, Washington, D.C. ​​​
 
Liming, K. (2018). Multiples Matter: Trauma-Informed Implementation of Findings from a Systematic Review on Early Childhood Exposure to Multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences. Poster presentation at 15th Hawai`i International Summit on Preventing, Assessing & Treating Trauma Across the Lifespan, Honolulu, HI.
 
Liming, K., Grube, W. (2018). Multiples Matter: Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Early Childhood. 90-minute oral presentation at the First Things First: Early Childhood Summit 2018, Phoenix, AZ.
 
Liming, K., Grube, W. (2018). Integrated or Isolated?: Implementing the Findings of a Systematic Review on ACEs. Oral presentation in the Child Welfare Track at the 2018 Council on Social Work Education, 64th Annual Program Meeting, Orlando, FL (Accepted).
 
Liming, K., Mariscal, E. S., & Brook, J. (2018). Substance use disorder treatment prevalence and patterns among parents of young children in foster care. Poster presentation at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice, Washington, D.C. ​
 
Fleming, K. K., Brady, N. C., Muller, K., & Matthews, K. (2018). A Comparison of Communication Complexity Scores in Children with Minimal Verbal Skills and Autism: Naturalistic Language Sample vs. Structured Interaction Protocol. Poster session presented at the Gatlinburg Conference, San Diego, CA (also presented at the Autism Across the Life Span conference, Overland Park, KS).
 
Matthews, K. & Byers, K. (2018). Differential impact of wraparound facilitation best practices on youth outcomes:  A latent class analysis. Poster presentation at the Society of Social Work Research (SSWR) conference.  Washington D.C.
 
Paceley, M. S., Fish, J. N., Conrad, A., & Schuetz, N. (2018). Community support within diverse community contexts for sexual and gender minority youth. Gender and Sexuality in Kansas Conference, Wichita, KS.
 
Paceley, M. S., Fish, J. N., Conrad, A., & Schuetz, N. (2018). Diverse community contexts and support for SGM youth: A mixed methods study. LGBTQ Research Symposium, Champaign, IL.
 
Al-Ahdali, S., & Kepple, N. J. (2018). Resilience within Indigenous Transition Age Foster Youth. 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, D.C.
 
Kepple, N. J. (2018). Working with substance-using parents within a child welfare context: Evidence-based insights for CASA volunteers. Mission, KS.
 
Kepple, N. J. (2018). Does parental substance use always engender risk of children? Comparing incidence rate ratios of abusive and neglectful behaviors across substance use behavior patterns. Toronto, ON.
 
Kobulsky, J. M., & Kepple, N. J. (2018). Physical and Psychological Abuse Characteristics and the Concordance of Child Protective Services Allegations and Adolescent Self-Report. 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, Washington, D.C.
 
Byers, K., Grube, W., & Mendenhall, A. (2018). Profiles of Toxic Stress Risk and Protection in Early Childhood: A latent class analysis of the Household Strength and Strain Inventory. Oral presentation for the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education, and Social Development, Dublin, Ireland.
 
Mills, A., Grube, W. & Mendenhall, A. (2018). The Effect of Strengths Model for Youth Implementation on Professional Quality of Life for Mental Health Case Managers. Poster presentation for 31st Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health, Tampa, FL.
 
Coles, D.C. (2018). Privatization…Good for the state or for the child? Gaining insight into the trajectory of experience for children in foster care in states that are fully privatized, partially privatized or non-privatized. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Society for Social Work Research, Washington D.C.
 
Brook, J. (2018). The Kansas Health in Pregnancy Project and the Strengthening Families Program. Kansas Child Welfare Task Force, Topeka, KS.
 
Zinn, A., Carlson, J., Moon, J., & Akin, B. (2018). What is the problem? Child welfare involved families experiencing domestic violence: Perceptions of stakeholders across multiple systems. 22nd Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). Washington D.C.