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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   

Engaged Cornell grants support BCTR youth research


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers have just received grants from Engaged Cornell that will help to connect their youth research and learning to local communities.

portrait of Jane Powers in a black turtleneck

Jane Powers

ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers received a $5,000 Engaged Opportunity Grant to work with undergraduate design students and two Tompkins County organizations on interior designs for a new youth homeless shelter.

And Max Kelly, an undergraduate Human Biology Health and Society major and research assistant with ACT for Youth, received a $1,000 grant to analyze how gender and sexual identity affect youth’s access to health care.

The grants are part of a university-wide program to build community engagement by creating partnerships between students, faculty and local organizations.

The project led by Powers in collaboration with Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) Professor Gary Evans will bring together undergraduate design students and local youth who experience unstable housing to design an emergency shelter for homeless youth. They will partner with Tompkins Community Action, a local non-profit that serves low income families, and the Learning Web, a community-based youth mentoring organization.

“I’m excited to be involved in this community-university collaboration that aims to better serve vulnerable youth in Tompkins County,” Powers said. “We will engage Cornell students to conduct focus groups with youth who experience homelessness and then use that data to design a new youth shelter that will appeal to and meet their needs.”

DEA students working on the project will use focus group data to develop design guidelines and working drawings of interior details. Powers said she hopes it turns into a long-term relationship between the local organization and Cornell students.

portrait of Max Kelly in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck

Max Kelly

Kelly wants to take a careful look at access to health care for youth because there is a significant increase in the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases among adolescents in New York State. And there is little evidence about how gender and sexual identity affect the health and access to medical care for youth.

“I hope this information will strengthen the work that ACT for Youth is doing to promote adolescent sexual health and guide future projects for the Department of Health,” Kelly said.

He will begin working on the project during the January intersession and should have findings available in early spring.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Engaged Cornell    gender    health    healthcare    homelessness    Jane Powers    sexual health    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

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

Goats, origami, virtual reality and more at the State Fair!

Tags: 4-H,   CCE,   NY State,   NY State Fair,   Rachel Dunifon,   youth,   youth development,  

composite image of girl holding goat, girl making origami, girl wearing award ribbons holding chicken, woman wearing virtual reality headset

The goat exhibition, origami activity, chicken competition, and Rachel Dunifon wearing a virtual reality headset

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Hundreds of 4-H youth from across New York State showed off their skills and accomplishments at the State Fair this year in everything from a fashion review to cooking competitions, a robotics challenge and the traditional animal exhibitions.

Human Ecology Interim Dean Rachel Dunifon toured the 4-H Youth Building, enjoying the embryology exhibit and testing out virtual reality glasses. She was joined by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ronald P. Lynch Dean Kathryn Boor and Cornell Cooperative Extension Director Chris Watkins.

two young women speaking to a man and woman in a 4-H booth

Chris Watkins and Rachel Dunifon touring 4-H booths at the State Fair

“I loved the chance to tour the 4-H building, talking with my incredibly impressive tour guide, holding baby chicks, and getting a sense of the breadth and impact of the 4-H program across the state,” Dunifon said.

Also notable this year, New York State 4-H and Future Farmers of America, or FFA, hosted a special day to highlight their organizations. The day included presentations by youth focused on Science Technology Engineering and Math, or STEM, animal science and healthy living and an ice cream social.

This year, New York State 4-H added an “Activity Zone” to the youth building, which provided fairgoers a chance to participate in activities related to 4-H values, including robotics demonstrations, a reading nook and a project to make quilts for children who are seriously ill or experience trauma.

4-H Youth participated in every division of animal science exhibition including horses, dairy and beef cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs and poultry.

4-H partners from the Cornell campus participated by providing demonstrations including Planetary Imaging, the Paleontological Research Institute and Cornell iGem, a team of undergraduates that use find biological solutions to important problems.

“We are working closely with our local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices to ensure that he State Fair is a showcase for the diversity of New York’s 4-H program, puts young people out in front and provides them with a valuable learning experience,” said Andy Turner, director of 4-H in New York State. “Our Cornell partners have been right behind us in this effort, helping create pathways for youth to explore, experiment and step onto STEM pathways that can lead to college and career opportunities down the road.”

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    CCE    NY State    NY State Fair    Rachel Dunifon    youth    youth development   

BCTR Talks at Twelve: Amanda Purington, Yoon Hyung Choi, Dominic DiFranzo, Thursday, December 13, 2018

 
portrait of Amanda Purington

Social Media TestDrive: Digital Literacy Education for Youth
Amanda Purington, Yoon Hyung Choi, Dominic DiFranzo - Cornell University

Thursday, December 13, 2018
12:00-1:00 PM
ILR Conference Center, Room 423



Though some youth receive social media education as part of a media literacy or digital citizenship education, more often they simply explore by themselves or with friends. While this trial and error approach is generally effective for learning, the nature of social media means any mistakes they make are public and can persist over time. Social Media TestDrive provides an opportunity for youth to practice using social media in a safe environment. Social Media TestDrive is a completely self-contained social media simulation, where youth can experiment, play, make mistakes and learn. In this talk, the team will demonstrate the Social Media TestDrive tool and talk about how they designed it with feedback from educators and students.

Dr. Yoon Hyung Choi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Social Media Lab. Her research focuses on computer-mediated communication, with a focus on mediated social interactions, self-disclosure, and subjective well-being. Yoon received her B.A. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Communication from Cornell University.

Dr. Dominic DiFranzo is a Post-Doctoral Associate in the Social Media Lab at Cornell University. His research involves collaborating with colleagues across the social sciences and humanities to translate the tools and methods from data science, e-science and informatics to address their research needs and purposes. This includes working with a wide array of research groups and projects including large-scale social network analysis, experimental ethnography, open government data, and web observatories.  He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was a member of the Tetherless World Constellation.


Lunch will be provided.
This event is free and open to all. No registration is required, but groups of 10 or more, please inform Lori Biechele of your plans to attend so enough lunch can be ordered.

Parking is available on Garden Ave., in the Hoy Garage, or at various Parkmobile lots.  Please stop at any information booth for assistance.

For further parking info, see:
Short-term parking options
Parkmobile map

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Amanda Purington    children    education    social media    youth   

Time in nature to improve kids’ health


Adapted from an article by David Nutt for the Cornell Chronicle

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s Academic Venture Fund (AVF) supports collaborations that cut across disciplines to address today’s greatest sustainability challenges. In 2018, the fund awarded $1.5 million to a range of projects that will provide sustainable solutions around the world, from the Finger Lakes to the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia.

Among the 12 projects are efforts aimed at transforming nutrient-rich poultry waste into economically viable fertilizers; developing in-situ conservation strategies for African rice; boosting nature-based engagement for elementary schools in low-income communities; and connecting rural and urban areas across New York state through a public “Internet of Things” infrastructure.

portrait of Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock

Included in the 2018 funded projects is Opening the Door to Nature-Based Engagement, on which the BCTR's Janis Whitlock is a co-investigator.

Young people today show greater rates of stress and anxiety, a trend that coincides with a growing recognition of the threats to the natural environment. Employing a One Health approach, researchers will examine how curricular programing that provides students more time in nature can lead to healthier populations and environments. The project will specifically focus on elementary schools serving low-income communities in urban and rural areas, and will identify curricular best practices and generate data to inform programs and state policy for long-term social and environmental impact. The project also received a Engaged Cornell supplemental grant. Co-sponsored by MPH.

Investigators: Gen Meredith, population medicine and diagnostic sciences; Don Rakow, horticulture; Nancy Wells, design and environmental analysis; Janis Whitlock, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research; Monika Safford, Weill Cornell Medicine; Samantha Hillson, Tompkins County Health Department.

Atkinson's Academic Venture Fund awards $1.5M to 12 projects - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: children    environment    grant    health    Janis Whitlock    media mention    mental health    youth   

Getting youth to drink water, not sugar


young man drinking a bottle of water with the text "drink water." Text at the bottom "Make the healthy choice. Give your body the water it needs" NY State Department of HealthResearchers from the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research helped inform new public service advertisements created by the New York Department of Health to educate youth about the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Researchers working on the ACT for Youth project conducted two rounds of focus groups in the summer/fall of 2017 and spring of 2018 to test possible messages that would encourage young minority males to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.

“The story demonstrates our ability to conduct research with youth across the state in order to help NYSDOH better serve and reach youth, ultimately helping—we hope-- to improve health,” said Karen Schantz, the communications coordinator for ACT For Youth.

A significant number of youth drink sugary beverages regularly. In one study conducted from 2011-2014, more than 60 percent of adolescent boys drank a sugar-sweetened beverage each day. This is alarming considering there is clear evidence that these beverages are associated with obesity, poor dental health and other health problems.

Amanda Purington, the director of evaluation and research for ACT for Youth, managed the focus groups. In them, groups of adolescent boys from western and central New York answered questions about the definition of “sugary” beverages and how much they consumed, and then evaluated sample ads created to encourage youth to avoid sweetened beverages.

“Many of the young people we talked with thought that sports drinks were healthy drinks and if they engaged in an athletic endeavor, they needed to drink them to replace electrolytes,” Purington said. “So, unfortunately, the marketing by the sports drink companies is working! On the whole, the youth were surprised by the amount of sugar in sports drinks because they really thought they were healthy drinks.”

Youth preferred ads with information, such as the amount of sugar in different kinds of sugary drinks. The most well-received ads struck a balance between providing information and delivering that information in a clear, concise – and often visual – way.

“They also liked having alternatives suggested, like ‘quench your thirst with water instead,’” she said. “But they didn’t just want to be told what to do, they wanted to come to their own conclusions.

“They also wisely acknowledged that a media campaign like this might lead to some short-term behavior change, but may not lead to long-term behavior change, especially in communities where sugary beverages are ingrained in the culture.”

The New York State Department of Health’s media campaign is now live.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Amanda Purington    children    focus group    government    health    Karen Schantz    New York    nutrition    research    youth   

Doing Translational Research podcast: James Garbarino, Monday, December 10, 2018

portrait of james garbarino View Media

Doing Translational Research podcast: James Garbarino

Redeeming Teenage Killers
March 21, 2018

James Garbarino
Loyola University Chicago


Redeeming Teenage Killers
March 21, 2018

James Garbarino
Loyola University Chicago

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: doing translational research    incarceration    podcast    youth   

Doing Translational Research podcast: Janis Whitlock, Monday, December 10, 2018

portrait of Janis Whitlock View Media

Doing Translational Research podcast: Janis Whitlock

Cultivating "Broader, Better Human Beings"
January 22, 2018

Janis Whitlock
Cornell University


Cultivating "Broader, Better Human Beings"
January 22, 2018

Janis Whitlock
Cornell University

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: doing translational research    Janis Whitlock    podcast    self-injury    youth    Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab   

Evaluation data improves youth pregnancy prevention programs


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

portrait of Amanda Purington

Amanda Purington

Using data gathered from the evaluation of health education programs to make improvements is an important component of quality adolescent pregnancy prevention programs. That’s the conclusion of BCTR staff Amanda Purington, evaluation and research director of ACT For Youth, a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health.

Purington presented ACT for Youth’s approach for collecting and using data for program improvement in May at the 2018 Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Conference in Washington D.C. The conference is sponsored by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families and Office of Adolescent Health. Her workshop was selected for the conference based on the work ACT For Youth does as part of New York State’s Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).

“This conference was a great opportunity to demonstrate how we’ve streamlined our evaluation data collection process and describe how we’re working with practitioners to use that information to improve programming,” Purington said.

The presentation detailed an effective process to promote collaboration between evaluators, technical assistance providers and practitioners. The process uses online methods to collect program implementation data from educators and creates interactive data visualizations. It allows practitioners to explore factors that impact program retention and implementation, and encourages them to use that information to improve their programs.

ACT for Youth, funded by the New York State Department of Health, is working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases, and the mentoring program Pathways to Success. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.

ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Amanda Purington    health    pregnancy    youth