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 Issue 2  |  April 2012

photos of children

From the Director's Chair:  


Welcome to the second issue of the Research Resource! I'd like to take a moment to thank you for the positive response to the first issue published in January 2012, and encourage you to forward this email to others who may be interested in child welfare "research with a purpose." 

A link to sign-up for the Research Resource can be found on the Children and Family Research Center homepage.

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

Illinois Differential Response Evaluation Releases First Report   

Differential Response (DR) was implemented by the Illinois Department of Children and Family services in November 2010. The implementation process is being documented as part of an ongoing 4-year evaluation led by CFRC Director Dr. Tamara Fuller. During a site visit in June 2011, focus groups and interviews were conducted with newly hired DR workers and supervisors, DCFS investigators and supervisors, DCFS administrators and other key stakeholders to gather information about the initial implementation efforts as well as key aspects of DR practice. Over 25 interviews and focus groups were conducted throughout the state, and the results are summarized in the 2011 Site Visit Report. A copy of the full report or the executive summary can be downloaded from the CFRC website.


Research Explores the Link Between Community Violence and Aggressive Child Behavior     

SaiJun Zhang and Mary Keegan Eamon CFRC researcher Saijun Zhang recently published a study with University of Illinois, School of Social Work Professor, Mary Keegan Eamon, suggesting that mothers who witness or are victims of violence in their communities are more likely to engage in psychologically aggressive parenting (e.g., shouting, swearing, calling the child derogatory names and threatening to spank, strike or expel the child from the home) and physically aggressive parenting (e.g., spanking, slapping, pinching or shaking), causing their children to be more aggressive and prone to behavioral problems. The study used a nationally representative sample of more than 2,200 mothers with a 5-year old. Findings showed that more than one-third of the mothers had been exposed to community violence at least once, and that higher levels of violence exposure are part of the reason for higher levels of children's aggressive behaviors via increasing mothers' psychologically and physically aggressive parenting. Not all of children's aggressive behaviors could be explained by differences in mother's aggressive parenting, however, and the relationship between community violence, parental aggression, and children's aggression is complex. Read more about the study.


The Foster Care Utilization Review Program (FCURP)    

The Center's Foster Care Utilization Review Program (FCURP) works in close partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) Division of Quality Assurance to prepare for, conduct, and respond to the Federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR). Using a continuous quality improvement structure, FCURP plays a vital role in maintaining a viable public-private framework that supports the ongoing efforts of DCFS and its private sector partners to enhance child welfare outcomes in Illinois at both the state and local levels. FCURP's ongoing projects include: assisting with the implementation and ongoing monitoring of Illinois' CFSR program improvement plan (PIP); managing Illinois' Outcome Enhancement Review (OER) which is designed to mirror the CFSR process; and facilitating IDCFS/private agency regional PIP workgroups. For more information about FCURP, please visit the CFRC website, or contact program director Yolanda Green Rogers

Recent CFRC Highlights: 

  • CFRC Director Tamara Fuller has been selected as one of six recipients of the 2012 Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Awards, designed to recognize excellence among academic professional staff in their work, personal, and professional contributions. Dr. Fuller will receive her award in April 2012.
  • Senior Researcher Ted Cross has received funding from the National Institute of Justice to study the frequency and impact of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases. The 18-month project will examine how often different types of forensic evidence are available, at what point in the case the evidence becomes available, and how much it increases the chances of an arrest and criminal charge.
  • Director Tamara Fuller has been invited to speak at the Council on Contemporary Families Annual Conference  about the Illinois Differential Response evaluation. Registration is now open for the conference, which will be held April 27 and 28 in Chicago, Illinois.

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.
Illinois Differential Response Evaluation Releases First Report
Research Explores the Link Between Community Violence and Aggressive Child Behavior
The Foster Care Utilization Review Program (FCURP)
CFRC Highlights