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 Issue 5  |  February 2013

New Research Grant Examines Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Telenursing Center  


The U.S. Department of Justice recently awarded the state of Massachusetts $3.3 million to create a telenursing center that will assist health care providers in treating victims of sexual assault. If successful, the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Telenursing Center will become the model for a national center. Ted Cross, Senior Researchers at the Children and Family Research Center, will be leading a team that will evaluate the center. The telenursing center will offer medical providers 24/7 access to expert assistance and professional support as well as advocacy for sexual assault victims. These services will be provided to 4 national pilot sites that are yet to be determined but will include a tribal community, a correctional facility, a rural community and an U.S Naval site. Click here to read a recent interview with Dr. Cross about the project.

Study Sheds Light on Engaging Parents in Child Protective Services

A recent study published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review by CFRC researchers Tamara Fuller, Jill Schreiber, and Megan Paceley confirms what many child protection workers already know: parents almost always react to a visit from a child protection worker with intense negative emotions such as fear, anger, and shame. However, certain worker skills can help to ease negative emotions and allow parents to engage with their worker more effectively. The researchers interviewed 40 parents who had been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for neglect and asked them about their experiences. Parents reported a variety of worker skills that increased their engagement which were grouped into three categories: Competence, Communication, and Care. Worker skills related to competence included: appearing neutral and unbiased, remaining calm even when parents being calm, engaging respectfully with parents, explaining their role, and returning phone calls. Communication skills essential to engaging parents included asking questions respectfully, actively listening to parent concerns and responding with accurate information presented in a neutral way, and returning calls promptly. Successful CPS workers also conveyed their care and concern to parents by: recognizing family strengths, making referrals for resources, and establishing rapport through shared experiences. Study results were also included in a presentation at the 7th Annual Conference on Differential Response, which can be downloaded here.

Use of "Recovery Coaches" Examined in CFRC Evaluation

The Children and Family Research Center has been the independent evaluator of an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) waiver demonstration that tested the effectiveness of "recovery coaches" in improve reunification and other family permanency and safety outcomes for foster children from drug-involved families. Dr. Joseph Ryan and PhD Candidate Hui Huang completed the final evaluation report in July 2012, describing a number of important findings from the evaluation, which compared the outcomes of parents who received child welfare "services as usual," to parents who received regular services plus a recovery coach that worked with the parent, caseworker, and treatment providers to reduce barriers to receiving substance abuse treatment, and engaging or re-engaging the parent in treatment. Findings indicate that children in the "recovery coach" group were more likely to be reunified and were reunified more quickly than children in comparison group. Although they were reunified more quickly, children in the "recovery coach" group were just as safe as those in the comparison group. Parents with a recovery coach were much more likely to access substance abuse treatment than parents in the comparison group. A cost evaluation estimates that the AODA recovery coach program saved the state over $6 million from its inception through March 2012. The final evaluation report and other publications related to the AODA waiver can be found on the CFRC website.