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Cornell Project 2Gen sponsors early education research


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Cornell Project 2Gen sponsored two researchers’ presentations at the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium meeting last month in Washington D.C.

Portrait of Lisa McCabe

Lisa McCabe

BCTR research associate Lisa McCabe, Cornell sociology professor John Sipple and Cornell alumnae Hope Casto, associate professor of education studies at Skidmore College, gave two presentations to early education scholars on research sponsored by Project 2Gen, which focuses on helping vulnerable families by developing programs that support parents and their children jointly.

The first explored factors related to child care deserts, neighborhoods and communities that are lacking access to child care for working families, particularly for children under 5 years old. The work is in its early stages, McCabe said.

“Project 2Gen has allowed us to expand our work to specifically look at Head Start, regulated child care centers, family child care homes and public pre-kindergarten,” she said. “We are particularly interested in how capacity may vary by rural or urban status and community wealth.”

Their second presentation focused on the challenges in working with administrative data, and various strategies for addressing them.

“As states across the country work to improve and expand their state-wide databases on early care and education, opportunities to use these data for researching policy-relevant trends are increasing,” McCabe said. “Yet working with these large, complex data sets can be difficult.

“By sharing lessons learned in the Project 2Gen work, we hope to facilitate better collaboration between state-level administrators and researchers to promote high-quality research that informs early education policy. “

Project 2Gen works to build a community of scholars focused on 2Gen approaches to support vulnerable families and partners with practitioners and policymakers throughout New York and the nation. Two-generational programs can begin by focusing on children and then add a component to support parents, such as parent education or skills classes. Others may focus on parents, and then add a component for children, such as child care or nutrition support. Still other approaches target systems that influence families, such as schools or workplaces.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: children    conference    Cornell Project 2Gen    education    Lisa McCabe    presentation    research   

Fitzpatrick named BCTR Milman Fellow


By Stephen D'Angelo for the College of Human Ecology

Maria Fitzpatrick speaking in front of a room of people

Maria Fitzpatrick presenting at a parent education event

The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research is pleased to welcome Maria Fitzpatrick, associate professor of policy analysis and management, as the recipient of the Evalyn Edwards Milman BCTR Faculty Fellowship, a role she will hold through June of 2019.

The Milman Fellowship program helps fulfill the BCTR mission to expand, strengthen, and speed the connections between cutting-edge research and efforts to enhance human development, health, and well-being by bringing a faculty member in the College of Human Ecology into the orbit of the BCTR, actively encouraging their engagement with the center and their commitment to its mission and success.

Fitzpatrick’s main area of focus is the economics of education, specifically on early childhood education policies, higher education and teacher compensation, benefits and labor supply.

“I'm honored to have been named the Milman Fellow this year and excited about the opportunities the Fellowship provides both for continuing to conduct my research on the well-being of children and older Americans and for extending my engagement with local communities around important issues for these populations,” Fitzpatrick said.

“For example, in work that's being made possible by the Fellowship, Chris Wildeman and I are working to highlight the important role that teachers and schools play in identifying child maltreatment.  Longer term, the goal is to work with school districts to use this information to better train and assist teachers in this regard.”

Karl Pillemer, BCTR director and Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development, said “the BCTR often supports sociologists and psychologists in these roles, and we were really glad to expand it to an economist who is interested in translating her findings out to the public.”

“One of Maria’s great strengths lies in examining what we can do on a systemic level to encourage better parenting outcomes and reduce child maltreatment. This focus is perfect for the Bronfenbrenner Center, because it goes beyond a single program to fostering policy change at the state and national level.  According to Pillemer, as part of the fellowship, Fitzpatrick will be looking the impacts of universal pre-kindergarten on the development of young children, as well as its effect on parents and the family structure. She will also work to determine the role of childcare workers and school teachers in reporting and preventing child abuse, as the BCTR has a specific interest in child abuse prevention. As well, she will further her research into child maltreatment and the influence of different social safety net programs, such as food stamps and welfare, in its prevention.

“It’s tricky to find the answers to those questions, but I think that Maria is ideally poised for that kind of research and so we’re happy to help support it,” said Pillemer. “We hope to help her to promote her work, but also she can inform the center on the different types of approaches we can be taking to help people in these policy-related areas.”

Along with the Milman Fellowship and her role within the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Fitzpatrick is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an affiliate in the CESifo Research Network, the Cornell Population Center and the Center for the Study of Inequality.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: children    education    Karl Pillemer    Maria Fitzpatrick    Milman Fellow    policy   

Talks at Twelve: Elizabeth Day, Thursday, April 19, 2018

 
portrait of Elizabeth Day

Bridging Policy and Social Science: How Legislators Describe Their Use of Research in Policymaking
Elizabeth Day, Cornell University

Thursday, April 19, 2018
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



Rigorous research and public policy ought to go hand-in-hand; if policymaking were based on hard evidence and dispassionate analysis, it could create the conditions for improving the lives of children, youth, and families. Yet a gap persists in the use of social science to inform public policy in the United States, which may be due, in part, to a lack of understanding as to how legislators utilize research evidence throughout the policy process. Based on in-depth interviews of over 200 state legislators, this presentation explores the uses of research in policymaking based on the unique perspectives of policymakers themselves, with a particular focus on youth and family issues. Implications for research and practice, as well as advice to academics, will also be discussed.

Elizabeth Day is a postdoctoral fellow for Cornell Project 2Gen in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Her research focuses on bridging research and policy, with a particular focus on adolescent well-being and family policy at the state level. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies and Graduate Certificate in Social Policy from Purdue University. Prior to joining the BCTR, Elizabeth was a Society for Research in Child Development Congressional Policy Fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).


Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Botanic Gardens lot across the road from Beebe Hall. No registration or RSVP required except for groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Lori Biechele at lb274@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: BCTR Talks at Twelve    children    Cornell Project 2Gen    Elizabeth Day    family    policy    youth   

New book examines incarceration’s impact on children and families


news-2017-incarcerationbook-inpostBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

More than 2 million U.S. children have a parent in prison – a circumstance that impacts individual children as well as our society on the whole.

The newest book in the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, When Parents Are Incarcerated: Interdisciplinary Research and Interventions to Support Children (American Psychological Association), analyzes how parental incarceration affects children and what can be done to help them.

The book is edited by Christopher Wildeman, professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell, Anna R. Haskins, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell and Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, a professor in the human development and family studies department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The book explores the issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Sociologists and demographers used complex techniques to develop causal analyses with a strong focus on social inequality. Developmental psychologists and family scientists explore how micro-level family interactions can moderate the consequences of parental incarceration. Criminologists offer important insights into the consequences of parental criminality and incarceration. And practitioners who design and evaluate interventions review a variety of programs targeting parents, children, and the criminal justice system.

Editors Chris Wildeman, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, and Anna Haskins

Editors Chris Wildeman, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, and Anna Haskins

“The interdisciplinary nature of this book is particularly unique and important, as successful solutions to such complicated issues are beyond the scope of a single approach,” Haskins said. “The perspectives of several disciplines are necessary in broadening understandings around the impact of parental incarceration for inequality among children.”

The work in the book was drawn from the 5th Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner ConferenceMinimizing the Collateral Damage: Interventions to Diminish the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children. Held during September 2016, the conference included scholars from variety of disciplines and more than 12 institutions and programs.

The book is the fifth in a series of volumes based on research presented at a Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference. The first four books in the series are:

(2) Comments.  |   Tags: book    children    Christopher Wildeman    family    incarceration    inequality   

Celebrating the launch of Cornell Project 2Gen


By Stephen D'Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

Lori Severens, Lindsay Chase-Landsdale, and Lisa Gennetian in panel discussion

Lori Severens, Lindsay Chase-Landsdale, and Lisa Gennetian in panel discussion

At an Oct. 23 symposium, Cornell researchers launched a new Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research initiative: Cornell Project 2Gen, a project that leverages cutting-edge approaches to support vulnerable families and disrupt the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Project 2Gen, led by co-directors Laura Tach and Rachel Dunifon of the College of Human Ecology’s Department of Policy Analysis and Management, focuses on addressing the needs of at-risk children and their parents to capitalize on the strong connection between parents’ well-being and children’s healthy development.

“Project 2Gen takes a two-generational approach to addressing the needs of vulnerable families by supporting research and programs that consider both parents and children,” Dunifon said. “And so the two-gen approach acknowledges that parents’ well-being and children’s well-being are intertwined, and that we really can’t address one without the other.”

According to Dunifon, the project reflects the mission of the College of Human Ecology, which combines that of a land-grant institution and an Ivy League university. Through this focus, the project aims to build a vibrant research community and outreach network.

“Project 2Gen is going to be a hub of innovative work that brings together research, practitioners and policymakers, developing and carrying out work in this area, testing new approaches, evaluating their effectiveness, and implementing them locally and throughout the state,” Dunifon said.

The approach is gaining momentum because research documents a strong connection between parents’ economic, psychological and social well-being and children’s healthy development.

The project, which will leverage collaboration between the work of students and faculty members across Cornell, is developing partnerships with community, state and national organizations and government agencies to support parents and children simultaneously.

Within this approach, there are several methods researchers and practitioners can use. Some two-generational programs begin by focusing on children and then add a component to support parents, such as parent education or skills classes. Others may focus on parents, then add a component for children, such as child care or nutrition support. Still other approaches target systems that influence families, such as schools or workplaces.

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick

The Oct. 23 symposium included a panel of experts focused on the topic Disrupting the Cycle of Poverty: Two-Generation Approaches from Research, Practice and Policy. Panelists were Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, the Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University; Lisa Gennetian, research professor at the Institute for Human Development and Social Change, New York University; Svante Myrick ’09, mayor of Ithaca; and Lori Severens, assistant director at Ascend at the Aspen Institute.

“I want to say thank you for the work you do,” said Myrick, who as a youth took part in the Head Start program, which promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community. “My siblings and I all had an opportunity to start working at age 16, and we were all able to be successful because of the work that you’ve done, the research that you’ve done, to prove that this isn’t only the big-hearted thing to do, but the hard-headed thing to do.”

New initiative launched to support vulnerable families - Cornell Chronicle

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RCCP awarded $2.9 million to evaluate Syracuse schools intervention

Tags: children,   Debbie Sellers,   education,   RCCP,   school,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The BCTR’s Residential Child Care Project received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate a program that helps teachers manage aggressive and challenging behavior among students in the Syracuse City School District.

BCTR researchers will be evaluating a program called Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools, or TCI-S, which trains school staff how to use trauma-informed practices to anticipate and de-escalate disruptive behavior, manage aggression, and help students learn social and emotional skills. To provide the organizational support that teachers need, TCI-S consultants will work with district and school leaders to expand and develop new policies and procedures that provide monitoring, supervisory, and clinical assistance to teachers

The project will begin in January and run for four years.

portrait of Debbie Sellers

Debbie Sellers

“This grant provides us with a wonderful opportunity to help struggling schools and build the evidence base for our longest-standing program – Therapeutic Crisis Intervention,” said Debbie Sellers, director of research and evaluation for the Residential Child Care Project.

Almost half of children in the Syracuse District live at or below the national poverty threshold. Living in poverty increases a child’s risk of being exposed to trauma and other adverse childhood experiences.  These exposures often impair the development of executive and social-cognitive functions that play a central role in learning and the regulation of emotions and social behavior, Sellers said.

“Teachers need skills and strategies that help them interact with students in ways that promote self-regulation of emotions and behavior,” she explained. “The TCI-S program trains teachers on how to prevent and de-escalate crises and teach students constructive ways to deal with stressful situations.”

For this project, BCTR researchers will conduct a randomized-controlled trial in 19 elementary and kindergarten-through-eighth-grade schools to determine whether TCI-S leads to fewer disciplinary infractions in schools.  They will also conduct a longitudinal qualitative interview study of school staff about how they practice TCI-S and their perceptions of school safety and climate.

TCI-S is part of the BCTR’s Residential Child Care Project, which translates current research into programs that are designed to improve the quality of care for children in group care settings, schools, juvenile justice programs, foster care, adoptive families, and community-based programs.

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Creativity at 4-H National Science Day event

Tags: 4-H,   children,   media mention,   NYC,   STEM,   youth development,  

Preparing an arm band monitor

Preparing an arm band monitor

By Jon Craig for the Cornell Chronicle

A Brooklyn elementary school was transformed into a high-tech laboratory during a Cornell-led science discovery day Oct. 4.

About 300 schoolchildren jammed all corners of Public School 21 as part of the 10th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day that reached an estimated 100,000 schoolchildren in 50 states. Last fall, Cornell led the national “drone discovery” theme.

This year’s interactive learning challenge, “Incredible Wearables,” was developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Youths engineered and built electronic armbands that measured their fitness while exercising. The PS 21 gymnasium was filled with “wired-up” students jumping rope, spinning hula hoops or running in place. Fellow youth scientists then monitored and measured heartbeats and number of steps or jumps taken.

In another room sponsored by faculty, staff and volunteers from Cornell University Cooperative Extension-New York City (CUCE-NYC) and National 4-H Council, the schoolchildren:

  • explored New York state’s parks using a giant geological map, led by Susan Hoskins, senior extension associate at Cornell’s Institute for Resource Information Sciences;
  • learned about hydroponics, or growing plants without soil, which wowed most youngsters, led by Philson A.A. Warner, extension associate and founding director of the CUCE-NYC Hydroponics, Aquaculture, Aquaponics Learning Lab;
  • learned about energy by pedaling a bicycle that produced electricity to power light bulbs and a fan;
  • created bird feeders from pine cones and planted fall bulbs to help pollinators; and
  • learned about sugar levels in juices, beverages and fatty foods.

The goal was to inspire youths to gain interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and pursue college and careers in those fields.

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Another interactive exhibit, sponsored by Google, allowed students to wear virtual reality goggles that exposed them to moving undersea images, a dairy farm in Minnesota and other science-based scenes.

Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin, CUCE-NYC extension associate for family and 4-H youth development, said this year’s combination of high-tech fitness tests in one part of PS 21 as well as interactive exhibits in another part transformed the flagship Brooklyn school into a “crazy but incredible learning environment.”

“There’s a lot more to keep track of this year,” Randolph-Benjamin exclaimed as she herded gaggles of elementary pupils.

Last fall, “drone discovery” and the accompanying engineering design challenges were developed by staff and faculty members in Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Human Ecology. In addition to solving real-world problems, students were taught about safety and regulations, remote sensing and flight control – a project that continues to gain national traction.

Organized chaos spells creativity at Brooklyn school science event - Cornell Chronicle

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    children    media mention    NYC    STEM    youth development   

National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect refunded


ndacan-logoBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, or NDACAN, secured a $5.2 million federal contract that will maintain the project over the next five years. 2018 will be the Archive’s thirtieth consecutive year receiving federal funding since the Archive was founded at Cornell in 1988.

NDACAN promotes analysis of data on child maltreatment, child well-being, and adoption and foster care. The Children’s Bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, renewed the project’s contract. The Children’s Bureau plans, manages, coordinates, and supports child abuse and neglect prevention and child welfare service programs.

“We know that data archives and technical support for the secondary analysis of research data represent an important part of the research infrastructures of many fields of research, including child welfare,” said John Eckenrode, professor of human development and NDACAN co-director.

“Maximizing the use of child welfare data is key to making important policy decisions, raising public awareness, and identifying targets for prevention efforts,” he said. “In this way, we hope that our modest efforts at NDACAN can help lead to greater safety, permanency, and well-being for America’s children. We are very pleased to partner with the Children’s Bureau in this effort.”

NDACAN’s holdings include data from national surveys, administrative data from state and federal agencies, and individual studies by child welfare researchers. In addition to acquiring and processing data, NDACAN staff provide technical assistance to child welfare researchers and encourage networking among them in order to exchange information. These efforts have resulted in several hundred published studies.  NDACAN also conducts analyses of archived data to support the work of government agencies, foundations, advocacy groups, and the press.

“In the next five years, we plan to make the Archive even more integral to the child welfare research community by making aggregate data available in readily accessible formats and by opening up our micro-data holdings in ways that facilitate completely new and innovative types of analyses that can better inform child welfare policy—and social policy more broadly,” said Christopher Wildeman, associate professor of Policy, Analysis and Management and NDACAN co-director.

Researchers can find more information and review and order data sets at for no charge on the NDACAN web site.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: child abuse    children    Christopher Wildeman    John Eckenrode    NDACAN   

Introducing Cornell Project 2Gen


2Gen Logo Final Lockups FV_Vertical ColorBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR Researchers are launching a new project called Cornell Project 2Gen that focuses on helping vulnerable families by developing programs that support parents and their children jointly.

The approach is gaining momentum within research communities across the country. That’s because research documents a strong connection between parents’ economic, psychological, and social well-being and children’s healthy development.

“The 2Gen approach perfectly fits with the vision of Urie Bronfenbrenner, after whom the BCTR is named,” said Rachel Dunifon, a project leader and professor of policy, analysis and management. “Urie recognized that children develop and grow not in isolation, but in systems, and that in order to affect change, we need to move beyond the individual to incorporate the complex systems in which children live.”

Cornell is kicking the project off with a symposium from 3:00 to 5:00p.m. on October 23 in the Amphitheatre at the Statler Hotel. The symposium will include a panel of experts focused on the topic Disrupting the Cycle of Poverty: Two-Generation Approaches from Research, Practice, and Policy. The panelists are:

  • Lori Severens, Assistant Director at Ascend, The Aspen Institute
  • Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University
  • Lisa Gennetian, Research Professor, Institute for Human Development and Social Change, New York University
  • Svante Myrick, Mayor, City of Ithaca

Two-generational programs can begin by focusing on children and then add a component to support parents, such as parent education or skills classes. Others may focus on parents, and then add a component for children, such as child care or nutrition support. Still other approaches target systems that influence families, such as schools or workplaces.

At Cornell, Project 2Gen will focus on building a community of scholars focused on 2Gen approaches to support vulnerable families, working with practitioners and policy makers throughout New York and the nation. This year, Cornell Project 2Gen is awarding funding to research projects that use the 2Gen approach to help vulnerable families and will ultimately inform policy and practice in New York State.

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(2) Comments.  |   Tags: children    Cornell Project 2Gen    family    Rachel Dunifon   

Nicholas Kristof to give Bronfenbrenner Centennial Lecture Oct. 2


Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, a writer for The New York Times known for his work exposing social injustice, will speak on campus Monday, Oct. 2, at 5 p.m. in Call Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Kristof will deliver the Bronfenbrenner Centennial Lecture to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, who taught at Cornell for more than 50 years and is considered by many to be the father of translational research.

Kristof’s lecture is titled “A Path Appears: Promoting the Welfare of Children.” The talk will draw on his work in promoting gender equality around the world and on public health and poverty with a focus on children. His reporting has documented the living conditions of people across the globe and advocated for human rights.

“Nicholas Kristof is the perfect person to help us celebrate the centennial of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s birth,” said Karl Pillemer, director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and the Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development. “Urie and Nicholas share an interest in protecting the rights of children and in the ways citizens and policymakers can act positively to change our society for the better.”

Bronfenbrenner’s work at Cornell included developing theory and research designs at the frontiers of developmental science, finding ways to apply those theories to use in policy and practice, and communicating his findings to the public and to decision-makers.

His research was among the first to demonstrate the environmental and social influences on child development and was critical in helping the U.S. government develop the Head Start program, which provides early childhood education, nutrition and parenting support to low-income families.

The Bronfenbrenner Center in the College of Human Ecology capitalizes on translational research as a means to more closely link the twin missions of research and outreach.

Kristof holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a law degree from Oxford University, England, which he attended as a Rhodes scholar.

Nicholas Kristof to give Bronfenbrenner Centennial Lecture Oct. 2 - Cornell Chronicle

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: children    inequality    media mention    poverty    Urie Bronfenbrenner    women   
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