Heather Taussig, a children’s social care researcher  from the United States, has joined CASCADE for a 4-month Fulbright fellowship. Dr. Taussig is a Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Workand an adjunct professor at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. Taussig plans to conduct research in collaboration with CASCADE researchers to develop more innovative and contextually sensitive prevention programs for youth with care experience.

Taussig’s career has focused on creating and using evidence to improve outcomes for children who have experienced maltreatment and placement in foster care. Twenty years ago, Taussig designed Fostering Healthy Futures® (FHF), a mentoring and skills training program for young people in care. The program has since been tested in three randomized controlled trials and has demonstrated multiple positive outcomes, including improved mental health, placement stability, and less delinquency for youth in the prevention groups.

The Fulbright award gives Taussig an opportunity to take a fresh look at some of the extensive quantitative, qualitative and process data her team has collected over the past two decades, including data from a 10-year follow-up study with young adults who were placed in foster care during preadolescence. In collaboration with her new colleagues at CASCADE, she’ll examine FHF data to better understand what predicts long-term success among children in foster care, and how, for whom, and under what conditions interventions work for diverse youth.

Taussig’s interests overlap with several areas of expertise at CASCADE and DECIPHer including: (1) Conducting rigorous RCTs within children’s social care, (2) Development, evaluation, and implementation of complex interventions, (3) Adaptation and efficacy of evidence-based interventions in cross-cultural contexts, (4) Examining standards for “what works,” (6) Training social work graduate students in practice, (7) Harnessing youth voice/input in research endeavors, (8) Linking administrative data across service sectors to answer key questions of interest, and (9) Disseminating research findings in ways that are easily digestible for researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and the public.

She hopes to forge new connections between CASCADE and Centres back in her home state of Colorado including the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, the Center for Effective Interventions and the Butler Institute for Families.

Taussig’s work at CASCADE through her Fulbright Scholar Award should not only enhance the US/UK ability to collaborate on impactful cross-cultural research, but also help us reach our shared mission of improving outcomes for vulnerable youth and families, thereby reducing costs to society and fostering more healthy futures.

Dr Heather Taussig