Grant Recipient: Colorado Seminary, which owns and operates the University of Denver
Term: 2017- 2022
Principal Investigator: Heather Taussig, Ph.D., University of Denver
Kimberly Bender, Ph.D., University of Denver
Summary: This project is an RCT of Fostering Healthy Futures for Teens (FHF‑T), a nine-month intensive mentoring program for 8th and 9thgraders with open child welfare cases and histories of maltreatment. FHF‑T is an adaptation of Fostering Healthy Futures, a program for preadolescent (ages 9 – 11) maltreated children in foster care that has been found in a small but well-conducted RCT to produce sizable effects on key child outcomes. These effects included, for example, a statistically-significant reduction from 24% (control group) to 8% (treatment group) in the percent of children placed in a secure residential treatment center – an adverse outcome that typically occurs when children’s behavioral, substance use, or psychiatric problems become too severe for them to be in foster care or other non-secure placements.
The new RCT will evaluate FHF‑T in a sample of 234 maltreated 8thand 9th grade youth in the Denver metro area with open child welfare cases. Since this target population is at elevated risk of delinquency, the main outcome of interest will be the rate of youth delinquent behavior measured over a 15-month follow-up period. A pilot RCT of FHF‑T with 28 8thand 9th graders found that the program was successfully implemented in its target population and achieved preliminary impacts on the targeted short term / process outcomes (e.g., level of caregiver support and connections to school). The Kempe Foundation, Kempe Center, and the University of Denver will ensure that the program’s delivery costs are covered through grants and donations as part of this RCT.
The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.