Past Research Projects

Community Violence and Head Start Children 
Dr. Suzanne Randolph and Dr. Sally Koblinsky 
The researchers and Family Science graduate students collected data for a three-year research and intervention project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The project examines the effects of neighborhood violence on preschoolers, the role of family and schools in mediating its impacts, and the effectiveness of early childhood anti-violence interventions in Head Start programs. This study of African-American Head Start families examines the effects of community violence exposure on preschoolers' cognitive, motor, and socioemotional development; determines the strategies parents and teachers use to protect children from violence and help them deal with violence-related stress; and evaluates the impact of a preschool-level violence intervention program involving the school and family on children's developmental skills and behavior problems. The project also provides educational policy-makers with strategies for developing community-wide violence prevention/intervention programs.

Fostering Resiliency in At-Risk African American Children
Dr. Sally Koblinsky and Dr. Suzanne Randolph
The researchers and Family Science graduate students implemented and evaluated a family strengthening program for low-income African American parents of Head Start children in Washington, D.C. The project, funded by the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, sought to increase family resilience and minimize young children's susceptibility to drug use and violence. In the first year, the researchers used a community consensus-building process to select a culturally-appropriate intervention program, Effective Black Parenting. Two cycles of the program were implemented with 34 African American families who resided in neighborhoods with high levels of community violence. A group of 31 nonparticipating families in similar neighborhoods served as a comparison group. A pretest-posttest design was used to assess the impact of the family strengthening model on parents' and children's attitudes and behaviors. Findings provide lessons for developing successful university-community collaborations and for designing culturally-sensitive parenting programs.

Time Use Data Access System
Dr. Sandy Hofferth
The Time Use Data Access System is a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to integrate, document and disseminate individual-level data on how people allocate their time. This project facilitates research on parental time with children, how time use influences heath, household responses to changing economic conditions, and cross-national research on health and well-being in different cultural and policy settings. Current data come from the American Time Use Survey, a nationally representative survey of American households from 2003 to the present. Future data will include historical time use studies and international time use data sets.  The data are accessible through a web site:   http://www.atusdata.org/

Lifelines for Children
Dr. Jacqueline Wallen and Dr. Sally Koblinsky 
Dr. Jacqueline Wallen and Dr. Sally Koblinsky are working with the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) in Silver Spring to evaluate CASE's Lifelines program for children in foster care. The study was funded by the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. Current federal adoption policy stresses the timely placement of foster children in permanent homes and places responsibility on the states to explore reunification and adoption options concurrently from the time the child is placed in foster care. Lifelines is a program that helps children and foster parents cope with the uncertainty and ambiguity inherent in concurrent planning through education, psychotherapy, and group sessions. The evaluation explores the effects of program participation on foster parent stress; children's attachment, depression, self-esteem, and behavior; and psychological presence of the birth parent for the child. In addition, educational programs for child welfare workers are being conducted and evaluated.

Transracial Adoption
Dr. Leigh Leslie
A group of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, in collaboration with the Center for Adoption Support and Education, are beginning a national study of White families who have adopted racial minority children. The mixed-method study will focus on both parents' and adolescents' perceptions of their families and the factors associated with racial identity development and adjustment for transracially adopted youth.