Funded Projects 2011-2012

Funded Projects 2011-2012

1. A Multi-Component Prevention of Substance Abuse Use among Adolescents
2. The Motivation and Persuasion (MAP) Change Process
3. PLAY IT SAFE! - Becoming Evidence Informed
4. Youth Resiliency
5. JEDI: Joining, Engaging, Deciding, Integrating (JEDI): Inmate Re-entry Program

A Multi-Component Prevention of Substance Abuse Use among Adolescents (Multi-CPS)

Principal Investigators: Dr. Sung Seek Moon, Dr. Javier Boyas
Community Partners: Prevention Services at Recovery Resource Council

Research Questions:

  • Is participation in Multi-CPS associated with significantly lower levels of substance use?
  • What influence does the multi-component program have on family functioning?

Project Description:
From a dual approach, Multi-CPS aims to lower levels of substance use among youth between the ages of 12-13, as well as positively influence family functioning. Adolescents that participate in the multi-component parent involved intervention with at least one parent are expected to report significantly lower levels of substance use, as well as higher levels of family functioning. The goal of this multi-component program is to engage parents in the lives of adolescents with substance abuse problems.

Project Impact (projected):

  • Participants (530 adolescents and 260 parents) will have increased knowledge about substances and increased parenting skills.
  • Participants will have increased family functioning and decreased substance use involvement or stop substance use altogether.

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The Motivation and Persuasion (MAP) Change Process

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rick Hoefer
Community Partner: The Arc of Greater Tarrant County

Research Questions:

  • Will our intervention (based on the Transtheoretical Model and principles of persuasion) be able to increase understanding of IDD on the part of participants from the leadership of the faith-based community?
  • Will increased understanding of the IDD community, when combined with support and continued stages of change-based contacts from program staff, lead to more inclusive practices within the faith based community?
  • Will more inclusive practices increase support felt by individuals within the IDD community?

Project Description:
This project seeks to identify the impact of outreach and training efforts for creating inclusive faith based environments for individuals (and their families) with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). The Arc of Greater Tarrant County’s (dba the IDD Needs Council of Tarrant County) partnership with the local faith-based community aims to enhance and facilitate full inclusiveness of people with an IDD diagnosis into faith communities of their choice. From a stages-of-change model, a non-confrontational intervention focusing on two basic strategies, consciousness-raising and social liberation, will be adopted. The goal of the research is to study the effectiveness of the use of the stages of change model in a community-based effort to change organizational attitudes and behaviors. It is expected that there will be an increase in understanding of the IDD community by the leadership of the faith-based community, along with more inclusive practices that will help to increase the support felt by individuals within the IDD community.

Project Impact (projected):

  • An innovative field-tested, step-by-step training and outreach process that will positively influence attitudes and practices in the Tarrant County faith-based community towards working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Increased knowledge in the Tarrant County faith-based community of the needs and aspirations of people with intellectual and developmental disability, and enhanced knowledge of how to better support them.
  • The development of tools and procedures to inform more disability-inclusive practices and policies at the organizational and community levels.

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PLAY IT SAFE! - Becoming Evidence Informed

Principal Investigator: Dr. Joan Blakey
Community Partner: The Women’s Center -- Laura Hilgart, President and CEO

Research Questions:

  • Can PLAY IT SAFE! be established as an evidence informed childhood sexual abuse prevention program?
  • How and why does PLAY IT SAFE! work?
  • Can a template be created so the program can be implemented worldwide?

Project Description:
In response to the prevalent community problem of childhood sexual abuse, this project provides evidence-informed best practices as a preventative intervention for school-aged children in Tarrant County. Due to the desperate need for effective programs and the lack of a control group to study childhood sexual abuse, social work could benefit from evidence-informed best practices. This project hopes to provide empirical evidence for the efficacy of the school based program, PLAY IT SAFE! which teaches children to recognize, resist and report sexual abuse. The program has existed for 28 years and program data shows that youth are learning better ways to protect themselves and the number of disclosures is steadily increasing. This program was created by the Women’s Center in Fort Worth over twenty years ago, and serves 60,000-80,000 children each year in the local area. The goal of this project is to establish PLAY IT SAFE! as an evidence informed childhood sexual abuse prevention program. Also this project hopes to develop a template for this program so that it can be expanded and utilized worldwide.

Project Impact:

  • It is anticipated that more than 80% of students will score above 80% on posttest, which means that the preponderance of children who receive the training will recognize child sexual abuse, retain the skills to resist child sexual abuse if approached, and know that they need to report the abuse.

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Youth Resiliency - An Innovative Prevention Program to Sustain Resilient Biopsychosocial Outcomes among Differentially Susceptible Youth Exposed to Violence in Tarrant County

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alexa Smith-Osborne
Community Partner: Safe City Commission, Fort Worth, TX

Research Questions:

  • How effective is the application of a scientific-based framework in understanding the susceptibility of violence-exposed participants to post-trauma effects?
  • Can a neuroscientifically-informed resilience theory-based framework be applied to examine differential susceptibility for trauma effects after violence exposure on non-treatment referred children and adolescents who have been identified with exposure to domestic violence, community violence, violent bereavement, and/or child abuse?
  • What are the effects of a manual-based coping support intervention on participants’ resilience over time?

Project Description:
This study tests a coping support intervention for non-treatment referred children and adolescents involved with the Fort Worth Juvenile Witness Intervention Project. These youth would ordinarily not be referred to treatment because they do not display high levels of trauma, but as participants in the FW JWIP, they will serve as a clinical sample to test out a prevention intervention, expanded to this population, while also investigating the biological susceptibility of violence-exposed youth to trauma symptoms. The intervention consists of psychoeducation, skills training, peer group support and mentoring for youth with the goal of increasing long-term resiliency. In addition to the youth intervention, a parallel program is offered for parents and caregivers. Participation in the program has the potential to increase resiliency and prevent long-term trauma symptoms. This trial is being conducted in a community colocated with a large joint military reserve base. Military children are exposed to unique stressors associated with residential mobility and separation from deployed parents, as well as to risks associated with signature injuries of current conflicts. Both military and civilian families are being targeted for the trial of this intervention.

Project Impact:

  • This trial appears to be the first of a manualized prevention intervention targeted to exposed, non-referred children and parents including assessment of known biomarkers of differential susceptibility.
  • A draft manualized protocol for 12 concurrent parent and child sessions aimed at supporting resilience has been developed and will be pilot-tested in January, as enrollment in the study is beginning. Monitoring of intervention effects will include assessment of known biomarkers of differential susceptibility.
  • The study will provide useful information on the how level of resilience is associated with susceptibility to trauma symptoms in a clinical sample of violence-exposed youth.
  • The multi-dimensional intervention will increase the resilience of study participants, decreasing the likelihood of long-term trauma symptoms.

Dr. Alexa Smith-Osborne receives training fellowship award for military youth research

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JEDI: Joining, Engaging, Deciding, Integrating (JEDI): Inmate Re-entry Program

Principal Investigator: Dr. Peter Lehmann and Dr. Catheleen Jordan
Community Partner: Tarrant County Court and Cornerstone Assistance Agency

Research Questions:

  • Does the JEDI re-entry program prevent adult offender re-arrests?
  • Can Solution Focused Brief Therapy and family involvement help to improve successful reintegration into the community by adult offenders?
  • To what extent do family issues contribute to ongoing negative behaviors or conversely lead to positive individual and family outcomes among incarcerated individuals?

Project Description:
The goal of this project is to develop a re-entry program designed to prevent adult offender re-arrests and improve successful reintegration into the community. The proposed re-entry program is a collaborative community-based re-entry program between the Tarrant County Court, Fort Worth’s Cornerstone Assistance Agency, and the University of Texas at Arlington-School of Social Work, Center For Clinical Social Work (CCSW). The project staff envision a phased treatment program to achieve re-entry in four phases to include a referral from the Tarrant County Court, a 10 week solution focused treatment for participants still incarcerated, a treatment component aimed at helping the offender successfully reintegrate with the family, and outcome and follow-up data analysis.

Project Impact:

  • JEDI hopes to see fewer adult offender re-arrests.
  • JEDI hopes to improve successful reintegration into the community by adult offenders.
  • JEDI hopes to determine what impact family involvement plays in successful reintegration of adult offenders.

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