Center for Innovation in CM Policy Research & Training

The Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy Research & Training

New child maltreatment research center launched with $6.5 million NIH grant

We are excited to announce that in addition to CVIP we have received funding for a new center, “The Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment Policy Research and Training.” The new center joins two other Capstone Centers in the country, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Directed by Melissa Jonson-Reid, the center team includes faculty from several disciplines across Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, and a number of other universities across the nation.

The center includes a major emphasis on community engagement and training. The Community Engagement Core (CEC) is co-directed by David Patterson Silver Wolf, associate professor at the Brown School, and Nancy Weaver, professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education at the St Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice. The CEC engages community, practice and policy stakeholders in the development of research; develops innovative means of dissemination of knowledge to the practice and policy community and executes a number of educational and training programs to build the next generation of practitioners and researchers. These efforts are supported by a strong team of national (e.g., National Indian Child Welfare Association, Prevent Child Abuse America, Parents as Teachers), state (e.g., Children’s Divison) and regional (e.g., The SPOT, Nurses for Newborns, and others) organizational stakeholders and a soon to be established, youth advisory board. Training highlights include the creation of specialty positions related to child maltreatment practice in Indian Country, a summer predoctoral institute to support the transition of under-represented minority professionals from the world of practice into public health and social work doctoral programs, and two post-doctoral positions supported by Washington University in years two-four.

As part of the center award, there are two large research projects funded: Child Welfare Data SMART (Specification, Management, Analysis, Replication & Transfer) a multi-state project led by Dr. Brett Drake; and Identification of Newborns at High Risk for the Occurrence of Preventable Child Maltreatment led by Dr. John Constantino, Director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. These applied projects focus on testing innovative means of improving screening capacity to target prevention and early intervention services through (1) advancing the use of integrated administrative data to inform child welfare and cross-system response to child maltreatment at the program and policy level; and (2) advancing the practice of screening newborns for risk of maltreatment and engaging parents in preventive services in a real world, high volume obstetric setting. Center pilot projects supported by Washington University and led by Washington University and Saint Louis University faculty across pediatrics, psychiatry, public health and social work disciplines also address unique questions regarding understanding prevalence in understudied populations to assess need, novel supports for families of infants, and the impact of medical homes on child welfare outcomes.

We will be providing updates on center activities and ways to get involved in the weeks to come!

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