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Regional CARE events share findings from 5-year study

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Charles Izzo,   Debbie Sellers,   Frank Kuhn,   Lisa McCabe,   RCCP,   translational research,  

RCCP director Martha Holden addressing attendees

RCCP director Martha Holden addressing attendees

The BCTR’s Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) disseminates model techniques and systems to prevent institutional child abuse and neglect. The RCCP’s CARE Model guides childcare agencies to support safe environments, strong programmatic elements, and a wide-variety of treatment programs and interventions that are trauma-sensitive and developmentally appropriate.

Supported by The Duke Endowment, the RCCP is completing a 5-year multi-site study of the CARE Model by analyzing data and writing papers to disseminate study outcomes. Additionally, the RCCP set up a series of Community of Practice regional events to share the new information with their CARE agencies, allowing agencies and the RCCP to not only learn from the research, but from one another in a collaborative way through discussion and networking.

One such Community of Practice regional event took place on August 12, 2015 at Waterford Country School in Connecticut.  RCCP staff began by providing the context for the research. Specifically, Debbie Sellers (BCTR director of research and evaluation) gave a presentation explaining translational research (TR) and the RCCP approach to TR.  Charlie Izzo (RCCP research associate) described the CARE Theory of Change, which outlines the change processes RCCP facilitates at each agency, and how these relate to the expected measurable outcomes.

Next, RCCP staff summarized the results from three related CARE studies. Charlie Izzo described the results of a study conducted across 11 agencies demonstrating that CARE implementation led to an average decline in three types of behavioral incidents: aggression toward staff, aggression towards peers, and property destruction. Izzo also presented findings from a study across 13 agencies demonstrating that CARE implementation led to a significant improvement in youth reports of the quality of their relationship with agency direct care providers. Finally, Michael Nunno co-presented with representatives from an experienced CARE agency about a study they conducted together. These findings replicated and extended the findings of the Duke study, demonstrating that CARE led not only to fewer behavioral incidents, but also fewer physical restraints and less frequent use of psychotropic medication.

The Connecticut audience was a diverse group, including agency administrators, program managers, and supervisors, as well as board members and those in research/evaluation roles. Of particular interest to attendees was the finding that as relationship quality improved, behavioral incidents decreased.  This information would support, encourage and validate the efforts of front line staff.  

Attendees were actively involved throughout the day in helping to clarify the interpretation and practical significance of the findings, and proposing future research directions that would help inform their efforts to implement CARE and better meet the needs of children and families. For example, during a discussion about their unique roles in implementing CARE, clinicians realized that they are a natural group to educate agency direct care staff about applying CARE principles in their daily work.  RCCP staff is incorporating this clinician input into a tool in development that measures implementation quality across agency sectors.  Agency clinicians also stimulated discussion about developing a tool to specifically assess practices that clinicians use to strengthen CARE implementation and sustainability over time.

The day ended with a series of interactive small-group discussions about the essential elements within the CARE implementation process led by Lisa McCabe and Frank Kuhn that were most likely to lead to positive outcomes and long-term sustainability. The ideas generated through these discussions not only helped the CARE team refine its implementation processes, but also pointed the way toward several promising research questions.

William Martin, executive director for Waterford was particularly pleased with the opportunities that this event provided for his staff, “I want to say that being asked to host this event provided an opportunity for my staff that they never could have gotten any other way,” and that RCCP “continues to do things that change our lives here at Waterford Country School and I could not be more appreciative.”

Two additional Community of Practice regional events were held on May 20, 2015 in Statesville, NC and on October 15, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Charles Izzo    Debbie Sellers    Frank Kuhn    Lisa McCabe    RCCP    translational research   

Register for RCCP’s “Building a Community of Practice” conference

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The BCTR's Residential Child Care Project (RCCP)  is hosting its fourth International Conference for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change (CARE) on June 21-24, 2016 in Lake George, NY. This event will highlight the importance of communities of practice in creating conditions for learning which lead to improving our practice and outcomes for children and families.

Preliminary Program

Featured Speakers

  • Junlei Li, PhD, Co-Director and Associate Professor of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA
  • John Lyons, PhD, Senior Policy Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Howard Bath, PhD, Former Children’s Commissioner of The Northern Territory, Brisbane, Australia
  • Xavier McElrath-Bey, MA, Youth Justice Advocate, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Chicago IL
  • James P. Anglin, PhD, Professor, School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria, BC Canada
  • Laura Steckley, PhD, Course Director, MSc Advanced Residential Child Care;Joint Editor, Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care; School of Social Work & Social Policy/CELCIS; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • Graham McPheat, Msc, Bed, Dip SW; Course Leader MSc Child and Youth Care Studies by Distance Learning; Senior Teaching Fellow, Social Work Lead, School of Social Work and Social Policy; University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK
  • Janis Whitlock, PhD, MPH, Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University, NY
  • Angela Stanton-Greenwood, MA, Med, CQSE, Lead Mentor and Positive Behaviour Coach, Hesley Group and Instructor, TCI Europe coordinator, Doncaster, UK
  • Troy Kennedy, Assistant to the Associate Executive, LaSalle School, Albany, NY USA

Panel Discussions

A panel made up of young people in care and family members will discuss their experiences and share what they need from a system of care.

Small Group Sessions

There will be opportunities to meet in groups and community of practice sessions to share innovations in trauma-informed interventions, implementing TCI in School settings, supporting developmental relationships, struggling for the congruency in the application of CARE principles or TCI practices throughout an organization.

Research Papers and Focus Groups

Researchers will have a forum to present research papers, conduct focus groups, and work with other researchers to discuss research, dissemination of research findings, and translational research.

Writing Workshop

Participants desiring to write a paper, an article, or presentation can receive assistance from published and experienced writers.

Trainer Certification

TCI trainers may attend this conference in lieu of a TCI update and apply for recertification. Opportunities for recertification testing will be made available on June 21, the afternoon before the opening conference reception.

CARE trainers may attend this conference in lieu of a CARE recertification workshop and apply for recertification. Opportunities for recertification testing will be made available the morning of June 22 before the opening session.


The registration fee at this 3-day conference is $725.00 USD. The conference fee will cover all programs including the Tuesday evening reception, Wednesday and Thursday lunches, Wednesday night BBQ dinner, Thursday night dinner cruise on Lake George, conference keynotes, panel presentation, small group sessions and workshops, as well as morning and afternoon refreshments.

Early Registration Fee of $675.00 USD will be charged to those individuals or organizations that can register participants by January 15, 2016. In order to qualify, you must fill out the attached registration information and send a check or purchase order postmarked prior to January 15, 2016. If you have registered and cannot attend the conference, 50% of the fee will be refunded if we receive notice prior to March 31, 2016. After March 31, 2016 this early registration fee is non-refundable.

Group rate (registration of 3 or more participants) $650.00 USD per person.

A rate of $600.00 USD is being offered to individuals who are presenting conference workshops (2 presenters per workshop) and professionally certified TCI trainers.

Please address any questions regarding registration to: Alissa Medero at

Request for Proposals

Conference organizers are requesting proposals for workshop sessions, research paper presentations, and innovation group discussions. The proposals must be post marked, faxed, or e-mailed no later than November 30, 2015 to be considered. Authors of proposals accepted for the conference will be notified by January 15, 2016. The conference sponsors reserve the sole right to accept or reject any proposal, and to limit to 2 the number of presenters listed in the program. Only 2 presenters per workshop will receive the presenter registration rate of $600.00 USD.

We invite you to submit your proposal on one of the following or related topics:

  • Family engagement
  • Improving the quality of adult/child relationships
  • Trauma informed interventions and programs
  • Reflective practice
  • Innovative training strategies
  • Quality improvement models
  • Integration of evidence informed practices into programming
  • Creating a safe environment/culture of safety
  • Enhancing programming and enriching the environment
  • External agency influences on residential care, foster care, schools, juvenile justice programs
  • Cultural competence
  • Data informed decision-making
  • Implementation strategies
  • Organizational congruence

If you have a proposal that does not fit any of these tracks, please explain fully in a cover letter. In order to have your proposal reviewed, please follow the directions below. Any proposal that does not conform to the outline and requirements below or that has missing information is likely to be rejected.

Full conference and registration information is available here.

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RCCP in Israel, meeting and presenting on their Therapeutic Crisis Intervention system

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Andrea Turnbull,   international,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,  

Linda Avitan, Dr. Renata Gorbatov, Martha Holden, Andrea Turnbull, and Yael Bohak.

Linda Avitan, Dr. Renata Gorbatov, Martha Holden, Andrea Turnbull, and Yael Bohak.

Martha Holden (director) and Andrea Turnbull (extension associate) of the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) visited Israel to participate in meetings with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Services and the National Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) steering committee. They presented on current research and the status of the TCI program to directors, teachers, and residential personnel, compared survey results with Israeli researchers, re-certified Israeli TCI instructors, and visited two residential programs that use TCI. The RCCP's  TCI system provides a crisis prevention and intervention model for residential child care organizations.

TCI Israel continues to be a very effective and impressive model of how government can support residential programs in their implementation of TCI and keep fidelity to the model. Negotiations with the Ministry to adopt TCI as their crisis prevention and management model for residential facilities began in 2002. Since then, TCI has been successfully implemented in twenty-seven facilities and the Ministry hopes to expand the program in the coming year. Considering TCI their most important program, the Ministry has devoted more resources to its implementing than to any other initiative.

Part of the program delivered to Ministry personnel, regional and residential directors, TCI trainers, and residential personnel included results from the U.S. TCI fidelity study examining how agencies implemented TCI and the subsequent impact on staff and programs. Israeli researchers Dr. Renata Gorbatov and Yael Bohak had conducted a similar study in Israeli agencies using TCI with similar findings. There was much discussion about how many more commonalities than differences are found in the residential care agencies across nations.

(1) Comment.  |   Tags: Andrea Turnbull    international    Martha Holden    RCCP   

RCCP at the 2014 EUSARF conference

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Charles Izzo,   conference,   Frank Kuhn,   Martha Holden,   Michael Nunno,   RCCP,  

The 13th European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents Conference (EUSARF) 2014 was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 2-5, 2014 and the BCTR's Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) was well represented. This conference is held biannually and presents an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from Europe and around the world to exchange and discuss the latest international research and practice in child and family care. The heading for this year’s conference was "Making a Difference," focusing on ways to translate positive experiences and outcomes into best practices that make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

Nunno, Holden, Izzo, and Kuhn

Nunno, Holden, Izzo, and Kuhn

The RCCP's Michael Nunno, Martha Holden, Charlie Izzo, Frank Kuhn, Bill Martin, and Sharon Butcher presented a symposium on Implementing, Evaluating and Sustaining a Research and Principle-based Program Model in Residential Care with Children and Adolescents: Learning from the Cornell CARE Program Experience. During this 2-hour symposium, the RCCP faculty

  • gave an overview of the CARE model and implementation process
  • shared the preliminary results from the 4- year quasi-experimental study of 14 agencies implementing the CARE model
  • discussed the complexity of implementing a principled-based model in residential therapeutic care organizations
  • and used a single case study to illustrate the impact of CARE and the RCCP’s Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) System on one organization that has a range of services to children and families

The conference also saw the launch of a new book, Therapeutic Residential Care For Children and Youth: Developing Evidence-Based International Practice, edited by J. Whitaker, J. del Valle and L. Holmes (Jessica Kinsgley Publishers). Martha Holden, James Anglin, Michael Nunno, and Charlie Izzo wrote the chapter, Engaging the Total Therapeutic Residential Care Program in a Process of Quality Improvement: Learning from the CARE Model, contributing the effort to take an international look at the current practice in therapeutic residential care.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Charles Izzo    conference    Frank Kuhn    Martha Holden    Michael Nunno    RCCP   

RCCP retreat plots new directions for residential child care

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Martha Holden speaks at the 2014 Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) Retreat.

RCCP Director Martha Holden addressing the group.

In August, the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) hosted its bi-annual, four-day International RCCP Retreat. In attendance were over 50 colleagues from the United States, Europe, Israel, and Australia. The group included RCCP staff, instructors, researchers, staff and faculty from other BCTR projects, as well as staff from nearby agencies. The RCCP’s mission is to develop and disseminate model techniques and systems to improve the quality of care for children living in out-of-home care and to prevent institutional child abuse and neglect through its major programs: Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and Children And Residential Experiences (CARE).

Historically, the function of the retreat has been to evaluate and further develop RCCP’s outreach, technical assistance, and training programs in an effort continually improve those programs, as well as to re-certify RCCP instructors so they best facilitate the RCCP’s programs. The 2014 retreat fulfilled its traditional function, and achieved much more. Using a collaborative format, the retreat began by focusing on trends in the various countries represented. Specifically, attendees explored trends in policy and regulations, economics, research, and evidence-based practice, as well as patterns in the RCCP representatives’ daily practice experiences.

In looking at presentations about translational research, attendees examined the ways RCCP programs fit into the translational process. Discussions then flowed to consider what the RCCP is learning from its ongoing research, evaluation, and implementation of the TCI and CARE programs. The group then considered how their accumulated knowledge informs the possible future paths that RCCP could take in each of these areas. Finally, several small work groups were formed to look at the various options for:

  • Frank Kuhn speaking to the group.

    RCCP Senior Extension Associate Frank Kuhn speaking.

    a curriculum revision of TCI

  • the future direction of TCI for Schools
  • the future direction of CARE
  • training innovations
  • the status and direction of an RCCP web site redesign
  • the use of social media to keep the RCCP connected with its colleagues
  • and a fourth TCI/CARE conference for 2016

On the last day of the retreat the RCCP invited Dr. Junlei Li, from the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA, to present his work on developmental relationships. The core concepts of Dr. Li’s work directly connect with all of the RCCP programs. His work can be best summarized with a few quotes from Dr Li himself:

Fred Rogers often said to his colleagues and friends, ‘I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.’ This core conviction guided Fred Rogers and his colleagues to develop television programs, books, speeches, and curricula that reached out to millions of children, parents, and professionals for nearly half a century.


Today, as so many of us are striving to serve more children, work with less resources, and comply with an increasingly complex and demanding system of standards and regulations, the need to focus on “deep and simple” is ever more important.

I believe at the core of Fred Rogers’ work with parents and educators is this essential message – Enriching interactions with another human being is the most important ingredient in a child’s development. Real and lasting change can start with finding what ordinary people do well with children in everyday moments.

The RCCP looks forward to forging ahead in the new directions discussed in this dynamic retreat, as well as continuing to provide the best programs, support, innovations, and practices to its colleagues around the world.

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Nunno delivers keynote at British Institute for Learning Disabilities conference

(0) Comments  |   Tags: conference,   Michael Nunno,   RCCP,  

0089_12_024.jpgMichael Nunno delivered the keynote address at the annual British Institute for Learning Disabilities (BILD) conference in Glasgow, Scotland on May 9, 2014. His talk addressed "Elements of organisational toxicity in children's treatment facilities that leads to aggression and maltreatment." He was also a guest speaker at BILD's pre-conference research workshop, discussing "Managing the journey through the complexity of trauma informed care: Lessons from the implementation of a principle-based program model." Dr. Nunno is a senior extension associate with the Residential Child Care Project in the Bronfenbrenner Center.

The 2014 BILD conference outlined ways to turn research into daily practice and showed how positive behavior support approaches can be applied across a wide range of settings and supports. Additionally, speakers provided examples of frameworks for implementation, including qualitative outcomes from international perspectives.

A popular feature at the conference was the 20-foot-long graphic facilitation wall, where the messages from the event, and the role and future for positive behavior support were illustrated by artists from Creative Connection (detail featuring Michael Nunno below).


(0) Comments.  |   Tags: conference    Michael Nunno    RCCP   

RCCP receives Duke Foundation funds to study CARE Model

(0) Comments  |   Tags: children,   RCCP,   residential care,  

The Duke Endowment of Charlotte, NC has granted a sixth-year funding allocation to the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) through to January 31, 2015. The funding allows the RCCP to gather and analyze longer-term data in their quasi-experimental field study of the Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) Model in North Carolina. The results of the study will be submitted to the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare for consideration as a Promising Practice.

The CARE model is a research-informed, principle-based, multi-component program designed to build the capacity of residential care and treatment organizations to serve the best interests of the children. The research-informed CARE principles support a theory of change (TOC) which outlines the causal pathways by which CARE is expected to improve socio-emotional and developmental outcomes for children (Holden, 2009; Holden, Izzo, Nunno, Smith, Endres, Holden, & Kuhn, 2010). This TOC lays the foundation for quality therapeutic residential care and provides a working model to guide agency planning and evaluation. The principles are applied throughout the organization to inform adult-to-adult interactions and adult-to-child interactions, guide data-informed decision-making, and set priorities for serving the best interests of the children. By incorporating the principles throughout all levels of the organization and into daily practice, an organizational culture is developed to help sustain the implementation of the principles.

(1) Comment.  |   Tags: children    RCCP    residential care   

BCTR at the Global Implementation Conference

(0) Comments  |   Tags: ACT for Youth,   Charles Izzo,   conference,   Frank Kuhn,   Jane Powers,   Jutta Dotterweich,   RCCP,  

The Global Implementation Conference (GIC) was held in Washington DC on August 19-21, 2013. Several BCTR staff attended the conference and were on the program. The GIC provided a unique forum to share the latest information about implementation science, practice, and policy that supports organizational change, system transformation, and implementation in human services and other real-world settings. Participants from diverse backgrounds and settings gathered to share ideas and research. The 2013 GIC theme was Putting Implementation into Practice: Tools for Quality and Sustainability.



Charles Izzo and Frank Kuhn from The Residential Child Care Project presented Examining the Flow of Implementation Events to Help Interpret Evaluation Results and Inform Programming at the Measures & Tools practice group.





Dotterweich and Powers

Dotterweich and Powers

Marilyn Ray, Jutta Dotterweich, and Jane Powers from ACT for Youth presented Using Quality Implementation Framework to Inform Evaluation and Quality Improvement at the Implementation Science Synthesis practice group.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Charles Izzo    conference    Frank Kuhn    Jane Powers    Jutta Dotterweich    RCCP   

2013 Graduate Research Assistant recipients announced

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Complementary Strengths,   CRPSIR,   Graduate Research Assistants,   RCCP,   students,  

Each year the BCTR awards graduate research assistantships (GRAs) to up to 3 College of Human Ecology graduate students. The GRAs are intended to further the work of current BCTR projects and the BCTR as a whole.

For fall 2013, the following grad students were awarded GRAs:

Andrew Jefferson (Department of Human Development: Cognitive development) will work on evaluation with the Residential Child Care Project.





Pamela Weisberg-Shapiro (Division of Nutritional Sciences: Community nutrition) will do research with The Role of Grandparents in the Lives of Adolescent Grandchildren and will be working with John Eckenrode and Charlie Izzo on proposal development related to the state's maternal and child health programs.




Sherry Zhang (Department of Policy Analysis and Management: Health economics, behaviors and disparities) will do analysis and proposal preparation with both Complementary Strengths and the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery.




More info on BCTR Graduate Research Assistant Funding.


(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Complementary Strengths    CRPSIR    Graduate Research Assistants    RCCP    students   

Holden advises Australian Children’s Commissioner

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Australia,   CARE,   childhood,   children,   international,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,   residential care,  

holdenIn March Martha Holden (Director of the Residential Child Care Project) traveled to the Northern Territory, Australia at the invitation of Howard Bath, the Children's Commissioner of the region. The Children's Commissioner, whose core function is to ensure the well-being of vulnerable children, is working to overcome disadvantages that Indigenous children and families face and improve their quality of life. Currently there are a large number of Indigenous children placed in out-of-home care. Residential programs (mainly smaller group homes) have grown rapidly in response to demand, but with little theoretical coherence or regulation. The current departmental administrators are well aware of this issue and are seeking to chart a new course. Holden's visit was seen by administrators as an opportunity to gain information on theory, structure, monitoring, and quality care that will shape their thinking and planning.

Additionally, youth services and residential care staff and professionals attended Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) Seminars presented by Holden in Alice Springs and Darwin. The attendees were introduced to the CARE therapeutic care model and its six key principles of being:

  • developmentally-focused
  • family-involved
  • relationship-based
  • competence-centered
  • trauma-informed
  • ecologically-orientated


(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Australia    CARE    childhood    children    international    Martha Holden    RCCP    residential care