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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
RCCP awarded $2.9 million to evaluate Syracuse schools intervention
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   

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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Workshop: How to Use Graphs and Data to Inform and Engage Community Partners, Thursday, February 22, 2018

 
how to workshops

How to Use Graphs and Data to Inform and Engage Community Partners
Elliott G. Smith, research associate, BCTR and Residential Child Care Project

Thursday, February 22, 2018
9:00-10:30 AM
102 Mann Library



As researchers share their discoveries outside of academia, graphs and data visualizations are valuable methods of communication. When done well, these visualizations can inform by providing context and focusing attention. Before they can influence decision-making and guide effective action, however, they must rely on data that are relevant, timely, and trustworthy. These are key criteria for community organizations who are committed to effective implementation.

In this workshop, participants will

  1. learn about the Data – Understanding – Action pathway,
  2. review common data presentation mistakes that community partners find disengaging, and
  3. discuss guiding principles, tools, and techniques for creating engaging graphs.

Smith will provide examples from his own work, and participants are encouraged to share their own stories.

Elliott G. Smith is a research associate in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research,  and a statistician and CARE data specialist with the Residential Child Care Project.

Registration is now closed

Please contact Lori Biechele at lb274@cornell.edu if you'd like to join the waiting list.
Breakfast will be served.
This workshop is open to all Cornell faculty, staff, and grad students.


event-htdrrws-event-image2Part of an interactive workshop series

Researchers are increasingly conducting studies in community settings and applying for grants that require documentation of real-world impact. Indeed, some funders now require components such as dissemination plans, stakeholder engagement, or community participation. To meet these new demands, researchers may wish to collaborate with non-academic groups and craft research questions and results that inform practice or policy. This series of interactive workshops shares the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s extensive experience conducting research in real-world settings and translating empirical findings into practice. Each workshop addresses a key challenge that researchers face in doing translational research and provides practical tools for overcoming obstacles to conducting effective translational research.

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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   

Collaboration lowers incidence of physical restraint for youth in care


Michael Nunno and Elliott Smith

Michael Nunno and Elliott Smith

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Two BCTR researchers have been working with a Connecticut child welfare agency to implement and evaluate a program that promotes evidence-based approaches in supporting troubled youth. The Cornell researchers and two agency administrators published the results of their collaborative effort in March in the journal Child Welfare under the title “Benefits of embedding research into practice: An agency-university collaboration”.

Since 2009, Michael Nunno and Elliott Smith, members of the research team for the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP), have consulted with Waterford County School in Connecticut, which provides residential and day care to youth with mental health problems, behavioral issues, addiction and emotional problems.

A team of agency executives, clinicians, supervisors and staff members worked with RCCP staff and consultants to learn about and implement the Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change (CARE) program model.  The CARE model is a research-informed framework created at the BCTR by Martha Holden and her RCCP colleagues that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships between caregivers and youth.  Nunno and Smith were part of the effort to examine if CARE was making a difference in the day-to-day life of the children and staff. 

After the school implemented the program, agency administration reported a substantial decrease in physical restraints among the school’s residential population.  Physical restraints are safety interventions that hold a youth in order to contain physical behavior that is likely to result in injury to the youth or others.  They are, however, not without risks to both the child and the staff since they can have harmful or even fatal consequences. 

“The wonderful thing about the Waterford Country School from an evaluator’s perspective is that it has a thirty-year history of collecting and publishing administrative data on measures that matter to practitioners,” Nunno said.  Our job was to portray the data in relevant and meaningful ways so that it could inform practice, soften professional resistance to change, and add to the growing evidence that relationship-based, trauma-informed practice models can create safe and therapeutic physical spaces.”

“By examining the data, we documented a 48 percent decrease in restraint events within Waterford’s residential and shelter settings,” he said. “We were able to verify the staff perceptions and narratives that the Waterford agency was becoming a safer, calmer place.” 

Yet not all Waterford programs saw this decline.  “The day-school data showed an increase in restraints in the corresponding time frame,” Nunno said.  “Although we were all surprised at this finding, our analysis triggered the agency leadership to examine the children’s social and emotional regulation needs.  They involved day-school teachers and children’s families who designed unified approaches to meet those needs.  Within months of implementing these strategies we saw a significant decrease in the use of restraints.”

The partnership between RCCP and the school demonstrates RCCP’s success at monitoring and detecting problems, guiding solutions, improving practice, supporting learning organizations, and contributing more broadly to evidence-based practice. 

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: article    collaboration    Elliott Smith    evaluation    Michael Nunno    RCCP    research    residential care    youth   

Spring 2017 Talks at Twelve


This semester we welcome speakers from across campus and across the U.S. for our spring 2017 Talks at Twelve series. Talks at Twelve are held in the Beebe Hall second floor conference room and lunch is served. These talks are free and open to all. No RSVP or registration is required, but notice is appreciated if a larger group is planning to attend (email pmt6@cornell.edu).

Wednesday, February 22, 12:00-1:00pm
Mental and Behavioral Health Facilities: Critical Research and Design Recommendations
Mardelle M. Shepley, Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University

comfortTuesday, March 7, 12:00-1:00pm
Beyond the Peer-Reviewed Article: Making Research Relevant for Community Stakeholders and Policymakers
Megan Comfort, Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Research Division, Research Triangle Institute

Thursday, March 16, 12:00-1:00pm
Pain and Presence: The Clinical Use of Media
Andrea Stevenson Won, Communication, Cornell University

Thursday, April 13, 12:00-1:00pm
Healthy Base Initiative: Evaluating Programs to Encourage Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles, and Tobacco-Free Living
Marney Thomas, BCTR, Cornell University

Thursday, April 20, 12:00-1:00pm
Data Driven Policy-Making in Child Welfare
Dana Weiner, Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago

Tuesday, April 25, 12:00-1:00pm
Weill Cornell Behavioral Geriatrics: Cognitive Impairment in Hospitalized Adults & Palliative & Mental Health Care
Elissa Kozlov and Keiko Kurita, Weill Cornell Medical College

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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