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 Issue 1  |  January 2012

photos of children

Welcome to the Children and Family Research Center "Research Resource"    



As the Director of the Children and Family Research Center, I am delighted to present the first issue of the Center's new e-newsletter, The Research Resource. This newsletter, which will be published bi-monthly, will serve as our primary method of communicating with child welfare workers, supervisors, administrators, policy-makers, and other interested stakeholders about research and evaluation activities that can advance child welfare practice. Since the Children and Family Research Center's inception in 1996, our mission as an independent research organization has been to support and conduct "research with a purpose" - of improving outcomes for children who are either currently involved in the child welfare system or at high risk for such involvement. This newsletter will highlight the Center's recent research projects and other relevant activities.  Readers are encouraged to visit our website  often for updates on our major research projects  and initiatives, as well as access to our full publication list, and our interactive data center.


Tamara Fuller, Ph.D., Director, Children and Family Research Center 

 CFRC Releases Report on DCFS Performance  


image of B.H. report coverThe CFRC is pleased to announce the release of the Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2010 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree. Each year since 1998, the CFRC has produced a report documenting the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in providing adequate care to children in foster care. The report provides multi-year data on indicators of repeat maltreatment, continuity with family members and community, placement stability, placement restrictiveness, length of time in foster care, and the achievement of permanence through reunification with birth parents, adoption, and guardianship. The report also includes a chapter that examines child well-being that provides an in-depth look at mental health service need and service receipt among children in substantiated investigations. This year's report has been significantly updated to improve the readability and usefulness of the data to a variety of consumers - including child welfare workers, researchers, and policy-makers.    


To read the report in it's entirety, visit our website to download a pdf.

To request a printed copy, please email Toni Sellers


Evaluating Differential Response in Illinois   

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was selected as one of three research and demonstration sites to implement Differential Response (DR). Differential Response (DR) is an approach to Child Protective Services that allows more than one system response to reports of child abuse or neglect: moderate to high-risk reports receive a traditional CPS investigation while lower-risk reports receive a family assessment and supportive services. Differential Response was implemented statewide in Illinois on November 1, 2010. CFRC Director
Dr. Tamara Fuller
 is the Principal Investigator of the four-year Differential Response statewide evaluation. To learn more about the Differential Response evaluation, including up-to-date reports, presentations, and findings, please visit the CFRC website.



CFRC Receives Grant to Reduce Childhood Obesity Among Foster Children

Dr. Jesse Helton
CFRC researcher Dr. Jesse Helton
recently received funding from the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Center's Food and Family Program, which is supported by the Christopher Family Foundation for a grant entitled "Fostering Health and Nutrition." Recent research conducted by Dr. Helton indicates that Illinois child in foster care are at an increased risk for childhood obesity compared to children in the general U.S. population. The aim of Fostering Health and Nutrition will be to develop and pilot a culturally sensitive health and nutritional program for foster parents and preschool aged children in the state of Illinois. The intervention will target family-level factors affecting poor nutrition and exercise and develop new methods to increase family consumption of fruits and vegetables, decrease consumption of energy dense foods, improve nutritional education, improve family cohesion and foster youth integration into family, and decrease youth emotional and behavioral problems. Preschool aged children and their foster families will be targeted in order to intervene during a period of child development when eating habits and activity choices are being established.

The Children and Family Research Center, located in Urbana, Illinois, is an independent research organization created jointly in 1996 at the School of Social Work by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The goal of the Center is to identify research needs and support research that is policy and practice relevant and encourage and facilitate public child welfare research activities through collaborative relationships.
CFRC Releases Report on DCFS Performance
Evaluating Differential Response in Illinois
CFRC Receives Grant to Reduce Childhood Obesity Among Foster Children