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RCCP presents at international EUSARF conference


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

portraits of Martha Holden, Lisa McCabe, and Debbie Sellers

Martha Holden, Lisa McCabe, Debbie Sellers

Staff of the BCTR’s Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) participated in two major symposia at the European Scientific Association on Residential & Family Care for Children and Adolescents (EUSARF) conference in Porto, Portugal last month.

Deborah Sellers, RCCP’s director of research and outreach, and Lisa McCabe, a research associate, joined with researchers from Australia and Canada to discuss research on children’s perceptions of safety and their attitudes toward the adults who care for them.

And RCCP principal investigator and project director Martha Holden and discussed their experiences in implementing the Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, or CARE, model – an evidence-based program developed by the RCCP to improve the social dynamics in residential care settings.

“The EUSARF conference is one of the most respected and valuable research meetings that we attend.  It brings together a community of worldwide researchers concerned with vulnerable children,” said Martha Holden, a principal investigator with the RCCP who also attended the conference.

In the first symposium – “Perceptions of Safety in Child Welfare: Contrasting Child and Adult Perspectives” – Sellers and McCabe discussed the problems created when youth struggle to form bonds with their adult caregivers.

“The implications are critical for children in out-of-home placements, but are especially crucial for those children placed in therapeutic care since their perception of safety is a requirement for attachment and future developmental relationships,” Holden said.

During this symposium, participants who have a continued interest in examining ethical and methodological issues when studying children’s perceptions of safety formed a community of practice which will continue beyond the three or four days of the formal program.  These communities of practice are supported by technology platforms that allow for meetings to discuss common issues.

In the second symposium – “Implementing and Sustaining Evidence Informed Program Models in Residential Settings: Journey of the CARE Program Model” – RCCP researchers and residential agency directors from Canada, the US and Australia described their experience in building and sustaining the CARE model over the past 10 years. To date, over 50 agencies in the United States, Canada, Australia and Northern Ireland have implemented the CARE program model. The symposium discussed the model and its co-construction with selected organizations and communities worldwide.

The CARE program model is built on principles that encompass developmentally appropriate relationships and trauma-informed care.  It focuses on building family and child competence within ecologically sound environments.

“These program principles demand congruent adult to adult, adult to child, and child to child interactions and interpersonal dynamics that are reciprocal, coherent and congruent through all levels of the organization,” Holden said.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: CARE    children    conference    Debbie Sellers    international    Lisa McCabe    Martha Holden    RCCP    residential care    youth   

Innovative RCCP conference puts attendees in charge

Tags: CARE,   conference,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,   youth,  

attendees at the CARE conference talk around a table

CARE Executives at the conference
photo: Heather Ainsworth

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) hosted an event this fall to provide leaders from residential child care agencies a forum to share experiences and improve practices at their agencies.

A total of 36 leaders from 22 residential care agencies in three countries attended the conference, which took place from September 18 to 20 on Cornell’s campus. Each of the agencies who participated in the conference is in the process of implementing or using the Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, or CARE, model – an evidence-based program developed by the RCCP to improve the social dynamics in residential care settings.

The conference used an innovative model called open space technology, or OST, which allowed the participants to create the conference agenda and goals. Over the course of three days, the participants worked in groups with a focus on the theme “Developmental Leadership.”

James Anglin and Martha Holden in conversation at the CARE conference

James Anglin and Martha Holden in conversation at the CARE conference
photo: Heather Ainsworth

“The goal of the two days was to explore issues of leadership’s role in implementing and embedding the CARE program in an organization,” said Martha Holden, director of the Residential Child Care Project and creator of CARE.

“Respecting the expertise, knowledge and passion that the participants brought to this event, the actual topics and content of the two days was decided by the participants. The discussions were led by the participants and the ideas and strategies generated came from the participants. They are the true experts about developmental leadership in a CARE organization.”

The handwritten conference schedule that attendees created on the spot
photo: Heather Ainsworth

This innovative format was facilitated by Dr. James Anglin, professor emeritus at the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, BC. The event model allowed the participants to explore all dimensions of their leadership roles in implementing and sustaining CARE in their agencies.

“The Cornell team’s job was to provide a loose structure and hold the space and time so that the participants could focus on the discussion,” Holden said. “The rich discussions and the amazing energy and commitment of the group throughout the event was inspiring.”

Conference participants said the experienced helped them to learn how to improve the CARE model at their agencies. “The two days were an excellent experience for me,” said Fred Mohrien, chief program officer from Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference. “I very much appreciated the format of open space technology and I believe it brought forward the best in all of us.”


Related

Residential Child Care Project receives $2.8M grant
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Event celebrates program that helps youth in care

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Residential Child Care Project receives $2.8M grant

Tags: children,   grant,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,  

By Sheri Hall for the Cornell Chronicle

portrait of Martha Holden

Martha Holden photo: Heather Ainsworth

The Residential Child Care Project – a longtime Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research program designed to improve the quality of care for children living in group care settings – received a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish the Center for Creating Trauma-Informed Residential Settings and share two of its programs with residential care centers across the country.

The grant is part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a federal effort to develop a national network of services for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Martha Holden, Residential Child Care Project director. “There is a push nationally to encourage residential settings to use trauma-informed and evidence-based models to guide their practice. We have years of experience in assisting organizations in improving the quality of care and implementing trauma-informed models.”

The programs promoted in the grant are called Children in Residential Experiences (CARE) and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI).

The CARE model is a research-informed framework created by Holden and the RCCP to improve social dynamics in residential care settings. The model engages all staff at a residential care agency in a systematic effort to provide developmentally enriched living environments, to create a sense of normality and to improve the socio-emotional and developmental outcomes for children. CARE is used in more than 50 agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K., all of which collect data and contribute to development of the knowledge base of what works in residential care.

TCI trains staff how to use trauma-informed practices to anticipate and de-escalate disruptive behavior, manage aggression and help students learn social and emotional skills.

Residential care organizations provide therapeutic interventions for children and young people who require 24-hour care. Children are often referred to these organizations from the child welfare, mental health or juvenile justice systems.

Martha Holden sitting at a table speaking as others look on

Jason Koski/Cornell Brand Communications
Martha Holden speaks at the 2014 RCCP Retreat.

“A lot of these children have experienced trauma and adversity in their lives,” Holden said. “They may have developed antisocial coping behaviors. They may become aggressive or self-destructive. They can be extremely withdrawn. Our programs help organizations to create the conditions that help children and families engage in therapeutic interventions.

“In addition, these models assist and support staff in creating a therapeutic milieu in which routine day-to-day interactions become opportunities for the children to develop trusting relationships with adults, learn social skills and emotional self-regulation, and experience the everyday small successes that helps build self-esteem and achieve normal developmental goals,” Holden said.

The grant provides funding to develop tools that will allow researchers and facility staff to track implementation of programs and improve them, in addition to sharing research, strategies and learning from the programs nationally.

“Data-informed decision-making and monitoring are essential components of both CARE and TCI,” said Debbie Sellers, director of research and evaluation for the Residential Child Care Project. “We will develop tools that will help organizations examine change over time using data they already collect. … We will also continueour development of fidelity assessment tools that help organizations identify specific areas where they can improve. Sustaining good practice requires continual effort and vigilance that we hope to facilitate with these tools.”

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: children    grant    Martha Holden    RCCP   

Event celebrates program that helps youth in care

Tags: CARE,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,   residential care,   youth,  

photo of a handmade sign reading "CARE in Action Day" with a blue balloon tied to itBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The Hillside Family of Agencies hosted their first annual CARE in Action Day this month at their Varick campus to celebrate how CARE, the Residential Child Care Project’s program model that promotes evidence-based approaches in supporting troubled youth, has transformed their practice.

The Varick Campus in Romulus, NY, which provides residential care for youth with emotional and behavioral challenges, adopted the CARE program model in 2007.  CARE stands for Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change. The model is a research-informed framework created by the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) at the Brofenbrenner Center that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships between caregivers and youth.

The celebration included a showcase of student artwork, a keynote speech by a former resident, a performance by The Youth Voice Band, and seminars explaining how the CARE program model works.

“It was pure joy to be included in the CARE event,” said Martha Holden, director of the Residential Child Care Project and creator of CARE. “The engagement of staff, children, and their families made for an exciting and poignant day.  It was very emotional – the mother speaking, the keynote, the youth band – such a visual representation of the powerful and important work that is happening at Varick.”

CARE is used in more than 50 agencies in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, all collecting data and contributing to the on-going development of the knowledge base of what works in residential care.

The CARE model improves the social dynamics in residential care settings by engaging staff in a systematic effort to provide developmentally-enriched living environments, create a sense of normality, and improve the socio-emotional and developmental outcomes for children.

The CARE model is based on six core principles:  relationship-based, trauma-informed, developmentally-focused, competency-centered, family-involved and ecologically-oriented.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: CARE    Martha Holden    RCCP    residential care    youth   

CARE program gains key endorsement

Tags: CARE,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,  

rccp-logo-cropThe Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change (CARE) program has earned a scientific rating of 3 from the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, which indicates that the program is supported by promising research evidence.

The CARE model is a research-informed framework created by the BCTR's  Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) designed to enhance the social dynamics in residential care settings to serve the best interests of the children. The model involves an ecological approach to engage all staff at a residential care agency in a systematic effort to provide developmentally-enriched living environments, to create a sense of normality, and to improve the socio-emotional and developmental outcomes for children.

“Attaining this level 3 scientific rating has been a goal since CARE’s inception in 2005,” said Martha Holden, RCCP director and creator of CARE. “Twelve years ago, we set on this path and we have been working toward this goal ever since.”

The plan going forward, Holden explained, to continue to study the CARE model to advance its rating to Level 2, which indicates it is supported by research evidence, by implementing and studying the program at residential facilities throughout North America. “We know this will take at least an additional five years under the best of circumstances,” she said.

“Recent questioning of the appropriateness and effectiveness of residential care has led to the need to define and build a sound foundation for quality services for high-resource needing children and youth with multiple challenges,” Holden said. “Quality therapeutic residential care requires adherence to a system-wide, evidence-based program model.  With continued development and research of the CARE model, the Residential Child Care Project hopes to provide additional evidence to improve the quality of residential care.”

CARE is used in more than 50 agencies in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, all collecting data and contributing to the on-going development of the knowledge base of what works in residential care.

The CARE model is based on six core principles that care should be:  relationship-based, trauma-informed, developmentally-focused, competency-centered, family-involved, and ecologically-oriented.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: CARE    Martha Holden    RCCP   

Holden receives lifetime achievement award

Tags: award,   international,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,   training,  

holden

The National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Career Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made a career commitment to the profession of human service training and development; making significant contributions in terms of leadership, new ideas and education as measured by improved organizational outcomes, impact on the field, or improvement in national best practices at a state or national level. This year’s award recipient is the BCTR's Martha Holden, director of the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP). Martha has made significant contributions to human services through training and development activities throughout her working life.

Over the course of her career, Martha has trained thousands of human service professionals and, through her training of trainers, indirectly impacted many more throughout the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Australia. As noted in her nomination letter, some of her many contributions and achievements include:

  • In the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving as a founding steering committee member of the Ohio Committee for Child Care Worker Training, creating various certification systems and curricula for child and youth care workers
  • As director of the RCCP, she oversaw:
    • The development of several curricula used throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia, including:
    • Organizing RCCP International Conferences focusing on child safety and training.
    • The development and use of an organizational development/systems approach. In addition to the training-of-trainers model, the RCCP recognizes the role of training within the organizational system. The RCCP uses tools such as organizational climate inventories to assess the readiness for change and evaluate the impact of training and other organizational interventions such as coaching and team-building. The RCCP curricula is not viewed as a stand-alone intervention but part of a more comprehensive organizational intervention.
  • Serving as co-project leader of the North American Certification Project, Martha co-led the initial efforts to organize more than 100 volunteers to develop the North American certification system.
  • Conducting evaluation and research activities providing evidence of the effectiveness of the RCCP curriculum and organizational interventions
  • Co-authoring publications and conference presentations of research with program, curriculum, and policy implications, for example:
    • Holden, M.J., Izzo, C., Nunno, M., Smith, E., Endres, T., Holden, J.C., & Kuhn, F. (2010). Children and residential experiences: A comprehensive strategy for implementing a researched-informed program model for residential care. Child Welfare, 89(2), 131-149.
    • Nunno, M.A., Holden, M. J., & Tollar, A. (2006). Learning from tragedy: A survey of child and adolescent restraint fatalities. Child Abuse & Neglect:  An International Journal, 30(12), 1333-1342.
    • Nunno, M. A., Holden, M. J., & Leidy, B. (2003). Evaluating and monitoring the impact of a crisis intervention system on a residential child care facility, Children and Youth Services Review, 25(4). 295-315.
  • Developing an international cadre of certified trainers

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(6) Comments.  |   Tags: award    international    Martha Holden    RCCP    training   

RCCP in Israel, meeting and presenting on their Therapeutic Crisis Intervention system


Linda Avitan, Dr. Renata Gorbatov, Martha Holden, Andrea Turnbull, and Yael Bohak.

Linda Avitan, Dr. Renata Gorbatov, Martha Holden, Andrea Turnbull, and Yael Bohak.

Martha Holden (director) and Andrea Turnbull (extension associate) of the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) visited Israel to participate in meetings with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Services and the National Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) steering committee. They presented on current research and the status of the TCI program to directors, teachers, and residential personnel, compared survey results with Israeli researchers, re-certified Israeli TCI instructors, and visited two residential programs that use TCI. The RCCP's  TCI system provides a crisis prevention and intervention model for residential child care organizations.

TCI Israel continues to be a very effective and impressive model of how government can support residential programs in their implementation of TCI and keep fidelity to the model. Negotiations with the Ministry to adopt TCI as their crisis prevention and management model for residential facilities began in 2002. Since then, TCI has been successfully implemented in twenty-seven facilities and the Ministry hopes to expand the program in the coming year. Considering TCI their most important program, the Ministry has devoted more resources to its implementing than to any other initiative.

Part of the program delivered to Ministry personnel, regional and residential directors, TCI trainers, and residential personnel included results from the U.S. TCI fidelity study examining how agencies implemented TCI and the subsequent impact on staff and programs. Israeli researchers Dr. Renata Gorbatov and Yael Bohak had conducted a similar study in Israeli agencies using TCI with similar findings. There was much discussion about how many more commonalities than differences are found in the residential care agencies across nations.

(1) Comment.  |   Tags: Andrea Turnbull    international    Martha Holden    RCCP   

RCCP at the 2014 EUSARF conference


The 13th European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents Conference (EUSARF) 2014 was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 2-5, 2014 and the BCTR's Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) was well represented. This conference is held biannually and presents an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from Europe and around the world to exchange and discuss the latest international research and practice in child and family care. The heading for this year’s conference was "Making a Difference," focusing on ways to translate positive experiences and outcomes into best practices that make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

Nunno, Holden, Izzo, and Kuhn

Nunno, Holden, Izzo, and Kuhn

The RCCP's Michael Nunno, Martha Holden, Charlie Izzo, Frank Kuhn, Bill Martin, and Sharon Butcher presented a symposium on Implementing, Evaluating and Sustaining a Research and Principle-based Program Model in Residential Care with Children and Adolescents: Learning from the Cornell CARE Program Experience. During this 2-hour symposium, the RCCP faculty

  • gave an overview of the CARE model and implementation process
  • shared the preliminary results from the 4- year quasi-experimental study of 14 agencies implementing the CARE model
  • discussed the complexity of implementing a principled-based model in residential therapeutic care organizations
  • and used a single case study to illustrate the impact of CARE and the RCCP’s Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) System on one organization that has a range of services to children and families

The conference also saw the launch of a new book, Therapeutic Residential Care For Children and Youth: Developing Evidence-Based International Practice, edited by J. Whitaker, J. del Valle and L. Holmes (Jessica Kinsgley Publishers). Martha Holden, James Anglin, Michael Nunno, and Charlie Izzo wrote the chapter, Engaging the Total Therapeutic Residential Care Program in a Process of Quality Improvement: Learning from the CARE Model, contributing the effort to take an international look at the current practice in therapeutic residential care.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Charles Izzo    conference    Frank Kuhn    Martha Holden    Michael Nunno    RCCP   

Holden advises Australian Children’s Commissioner


holdenIn March Martha Holden (Director of the Residential Child Care Project) traveled to the Northern Territory, Australia at the invitation of Howard Bath, the Children's Commissioner of the region. The Children's Commissioner, whose core function is to ensure the well-being of vulnerable children, is working to overcome disadvantages that Indigenous children and families face and improve their quality of life. Currently there are a large number of Indigenous children placed in out-of-home care. Residential programs (mainly smaller group homes) have grown rapidly in response to demand, but with little theoretical coherence or regulation. The current departmental administrators are well aware of this issue and are seeking to chart a new course. Holden's visit was seen by administrators as an opportunity to gain information on theory, structure, monitoring, and quality care that will shape their thinking and planning.

Additionally, youth services and residential care staff and professionals attended Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) Seminars presented by Holden in Alice Springs and Darwin. The attendees were introduced to the CARE therapeutic care model and its six key principles of being:

  • developmentally-focused
  • family-involved
  • relationship-based
  • competence-centered
  • trauma-informed
  • ecologically-orientated

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Australia    CARE    childhood    children    international    Martha Holden    RCCP    residential care   

Martha Holden visits Australia to present and advise on the CARE model

Tags: CARE,   children,   international,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,  

During the month of August, Martha Holden (Director, Residential Child Care Project) visited Australia to attend The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) conference and meet with local residential services personnel and a university's child protection research center.

The ACWA conference was held August 20-22 in Sydney. Holden co-presented a workshop, CARE: Creating Conditions for Change on implementing the CARE model in two organizations in Australia with Diana Boswell, Director of the Thomas Wright Institute, Canberra; Hilary Martin, Director of Marymead Child and Family Services, Canberra; and Leith Sterling, Director of Professional Development, Anglicare Southern Queensland, Brisbane. Holden and Boswell have been working with these two residential services organizations for the past year helping them implement the CARE program model throughout their organizations.

There is currently great interest in implementing a more therapeutic approach to care for children in statutory care living in residential facilities in South Australia. Holden was invited by the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia to meet with the new Director of Residential Services (the statutory agency) in South Australia, Dana Shen, who is actively exploring the application of a therapeutic model of care with staff and providers. She also presented to managers from the statutory agency and the principle service providers about the principles of therapeutic care in the CARE model and to discuss implementation. Finally, she met with the Australian Centre for Child Protection research team to talk about the evaluation process in the CARE model and discuss how to embed some sort of evaluation and quality control in re-designed services from the outset. The Centre saw the potential to shape the development and nature of residential services in the State into the future.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: CARE    children    international    Martha Holden    RCCP