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Conference takes multigenerational approach to youth development


Jutta Dotterweich, Stephanie Graf, and Tom Hirschl talking and laughing

Jutta Dotterweich, Stephanie Graf, Tom Hirschl, and Kimberly Fleming in discussion at the YDRU

By Sheri Hall for the Cornell Chronicle

What can youth learn through interviews with older adults? How does immigration status affect the lives of youth and their parents? Can we better design towns and cities to meet the needs of children and senior citizens? How is the opioid epidemic affecting the well-being of children and teens?

These were among the questions discussed by Cornell faculty experts, Cornell Cooperative Extension county leaders, 4-H educators and community partners at the eighth annual Youth Development Research Update, May 30-31 in Ithaca. The event is sponsored by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE) in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR), College of Human Ecology.

This year’s conference, “Multi-Generational Approaches to Youth Development,” focused on research and programs that reach across generations.

“The idea is to connect people who are leading and running programs in the communities with faculty so they can apply cutting-edge research to their programs,” said Jen Agans, conference organizer and assistant director of PRYDE, which sponsored the conference. “We also plan time in the conference for practitioners, who know so much about their communities, to share their knowledge with researchers.”

A prime example of this collaboration is the program Building a Community Legacy Together (BCLT). The idea began when Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist and BCTR director, began working on a book to capture the wisdom of senior citizens. Pillemer and his research assistants were incredibly moved by their interviews and wondered if they could provide the same experience to youth participating in 4-H.

Researchers for the book worked with 4-H leaders to develop a program that trains youth to conduct interviews with senior citizens from their community. After youth interview the elders, they organize the lessons they learned and create a presentation to share with their community.

Early results found the program promotes respect toward elders and combats the problem of ageism. Youth also learn valuable skills, such as interviewing and research techniques, and make meaningful connections with older member of their communities.

To date, 150 youths in New York state have participated in the program, and 4-H leaders are in the process of adding it to the national 4-H curriculum.

“Partnering with CCE educators to implement this program is exactly what translational research is all about,” said Leslie Shultz, a BCTR researcher who helped launch BCLT. “The program’s success was, in part, based on our ability to work together and adapt the program to the individual needs of each implementation team. While the core curriculum was maintained, we were able to stretch and mold the program in consideration of each community’s specific population, interests and structural resources.”

Other researchers presented on a wide variety of topics. Matthew Hall, associate professor of policy analysis and management, discussed his research showing that undocumented students are less likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college due to their immigration status.

Mildred Warner, professor of city and regional planning, talked about how city planners can make decisions about parks and recreation, neighborhood design and transportation that benefit children and older adults, and ultimately result in social and economic benefits for the community.

And Laura Tach, associate professor of policy analysis and management, discussed a new program called Cornell Project 2Gen that supports research, policy development and practice that address the needs of vulnerable children and their parents.

Stephanie Graf, CCE youth and family community program leader in Jefferson County, presented about her role in implementing BCLT – the program that teaches youth to interview elders – in her community.

“The connections between researchers and the Cooperative Extension practitioners in the field are stronger than they’ve ever been,” she said.

The conference helped practitioners to understand the data behind the work they do, she said. “We all know that children growing up in low-income families don’t have the same capacity to do well in school compared to children with higher socio-economic status,” she said. “But we learned about the data behind that.”

Conference takes multigenerational approach to youth development - Cornell Chronicle

(1) Comment.  |   Tags: CCE    Cornell Project 2Gen    Jennifer Agans    Karl Pillemer    Laura Tach    Leslie Schultz    media mention    PRYDE   

Grant unites Project 2Gen, partners in fight against opioids


By Stephen D'Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

Portraits of Rachel Dunifon, Laura Tach, and Anna Steinkraus.

Project leaders Rachel Dunifon, Laura Tach, and Anna Steinkraus. Dunifon and Tach are also co-directors of Cornell Project 2Gen in the BCTR.

The College of Human Ecology, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins), has been awarded the William T. Grant Foundation’s first Institutional Challenge Grant to respond to increasing rates of opioid abuse and child maltreatment in low income, rural communities in upstate New York.

The foundation supports research to improve the lives of young people. The award seeks to shift how research institutions value research and to encourage them to build sustained research-practice partnerships with public agencies or nonprofit organizations to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.

“Typically, universities reward faculty members for publishing articles in academic journals,” said Adam Gamoran, foundation president. “This grant challenges universities to reward faculty members whose research is directed to public service. The winning application will support research on one of our most vexing social problems, the opioid crisis, in a partnership that is poised to take action on the basis of the findings.”

The winning team, led by College of Human Ecology researchers Rachel Dunifon and Laura Tach and CCE-Tompkins program coordinator Anna Steinkraus, will attempt to understand the association between opioid use and child maltreatment rates; examine the role of family drug treatment courts in mitigating child maltreatment; and evaluate evidence-based interventions that may reduce the risk of opioid abuse for low-income youth and families. Findings from each study will be used to improve local practices and programs.

“We are honored to have been chosen, as the vision of the grant reflects the mission of our college and the land-grant mission of Cornell University,” Dunifon said. “The College of Human Ecology’s public engagement mission from the start has been about breaking down boundaries between academic research and its application to policy and practice.”

She continued, “This grant supports a true collaborative research-practice partnership that brings together faculty and community educators to address a pressing local issue: the opioid epidemic. We will not only generate cutting-edge research on this important topic, we will also provide faculty and our community partners with the time, funds and skills necessary to engage in this type of research collaboration. By doing this, we will pave the way for future research-practice partnerships to succeed.”

A committee of faculty and CCE-Tompkins staff will select faculty members to serve as fellows and receive mentoring from the partnership leads. Tach, an associate professor of policy analysis and management, is the first faculty fellow selected under the grant, and will bring her expertise in poverty and social policy to the project.

To support this work, housed in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell has committed a postdoctoral fellow for the first half of the award, a faculty fellowship, and an undergraduate internship at CCE-Tompkins. The College of Human Ecology will also review current support for research-practice partnerships, initiate conversations about how such work is measured and valued, and build capacity at CCE-Tompkins to facilitate high-quality evaluation work.

“We are excited to partner with the College of Human Ecology on this project, focusing on the opioid epidemic that has affected communities all across New York state and the country,” said Steinkraus, a principal investigator on the grant.

The College of Human Ecology will receive $650,000 over three years, with the opportunity to apply for a two-year continuation grant.

Grant to unite Cornell, partners in fight against opioids - Cornell Chronicle

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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   

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.

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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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4 Postdocs add fresh perspectives to center work

Tags: 4-H,   Cornell Project 2Gen,   NDACAN,   postdoc,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

“One of our main goals in the BCTR is to help train the next generation of translational researchers in the field of human development,” said Karl Pillemer, director of the BCTR. “These emerging scholars greatly benefit our work, bringing in fresh perspectives and new models and methods of connecting research to real-life settings.”

elizabeth day

Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day is working on Project 2Gen, a new project that will serve as a hub for research, policy, and practice focused on supporting parents and children together. The mission of 2Gen is to build a vibrant research community of scholars who are focused on building programs and researching how families can fair better when support services focus on both parents and children.

“I was drawn to this post-doc because it offered the opportunity to work on a wide range of issues to find the best ways to support vulnerable families, including work on bridging research and policy,” Day said. “My background involves working at the state and federal levels of government and I have seen first-hand the need for this type of resource.

“I also knew of the high-quality work and high-caliber programs that are housed in the BCTR and was excited for opportunity to work here!”

elmore

Kristen Elmore

Kristen Elmore is working on the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement, or PRYDE, an effort to partner with 4-H around the state of New York to research programs and factors that encourage healthy youth development.

“My particular research interest is in understanding how youth think about their identities and what goals are possible for them and people like them,” Elmore said. “My work with 4-H examines how experiences in 4-H may shape how youth respond to challenges when pursuing their goals—when do they persist versus move on to something else?”

Elmore’s goal is to create programs that encourage youth from all backgrounds to pursue positive academic and health behaviors. “4-H is the largest youth-serving organization in the U.S., so it’s an ideal setting for designing and implementing programs to support healthy youth development,” she said.

Elmore was attracted to working at the BCTR because of the center’s commitment to using social science to serve the public good. “The wealth of experience and practical knowledge in conducting translational work that can be found among our colleagues at the BCTR is an incredibly rich and unique resource for postdocs,” she said.

sumner

Rachel Sumner

Rachel Sumner is also working on PRYDE, and hopes to focus her research on identity and inclusion in youth programming.

“I hope to conduct research that helps inform decisions made by youth development programs and practitioners, especially decisions related to diversity and inclusion and promoting the development of purpose and identity,” she said.

Sumner was drawn to the BCTR because she wanted to collaborate with people who are working directly with youth. “Involving practitioners throughout the research process yields questions that are more relevant to real-world contexts than questions generated by researchers alone,” she said. “Collaborating with both practitioners and researchers helps me think about the topics I study – purpose in life, identity, diversity in new and interesting ways.”

edwards

Frank Edwards

And Frank Edwards is working with the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) to develop new ways to evaluate how surveillance systems work, how casework assignments affect families, and whether immigration detention and deportation requires Latino families to use the foster care system more often.

“My work focuses on how social policy institutions affect child and family inequality,” he said. “BCTR provides an exciting combination of applied researchers engaged in improving policy for kids and families, and unparalleled access to administrative data through the NDACAN. Given my research interests, BCTR is a near perfect place to work.”

Edwards’ goal is to better understand how government institutions affect children and to “move the needle on the causes and consequences of family inequality.”

“I hope to shed light on how policy institutions like the criminal justice and means-tested welfare programs contribute to racial inequality that we see in the more disruptive interventions available to child welfare agencies,” he said. “In so doing, I hope to spur conversations about reducing inequalities that take an ecological approach to the relationship between policy environments and child and family well-being.”

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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   
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