The School of Social Welfare (SSW) has received a 5-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to establish a center for research on Child Welfare, Drug Abuse and Intergenerational Risk (CWDAIR). The CWDAIR Center is under the leadership of Dr. Philip McCallion and Co-directors Carolyn Smith and Barry Loneck.
CWDAIR utilizes the Unified Theory of Behavior (UTB) developed by Dr. James Jaccard. This theory integrates several evidence-based theories and can be applied to individuals in organizational roles, as well as in stressed families. According to UTB, an individual’s behavior is influenced by several key factors, including habit, knowledge and skills, environmental constraints, salience to the person, and intention. Intention to act in a particular way is also affected by a number of factors that include attitude, self-concept, self-efficacy, normative influences, and expectations.
Because the problems of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS within child welfare occur within a larger systemic context, UTB has been extended by co-director Dr. Carolyn Smith and Dr. Jaccard to acknowledge these critical influences. All research projects supported by CWDAIR utilize some aspect of this conceptual framework.
The CWDAIR Research Center has the following organizational elements:
- The CWDAIR Administrative Team, consisting of the Program Director and Co-directors is responsible for achieving its aims and for its day-to-day operations.
- The Program Management Group (PMG) comprising university and community members guides activities and the blending of research and practice.
- The Advisory Board is composed of PMG members and a
larger pool of nationally prominent scientists. Four workgroups will meet
2-3 times per year.
- The NIDA Applications Workgroup who review and advise on National Institutes of Health (NIH) applications.
- The Faculty and Doctoral Student Development Workgroup who advise on junior faculty mentoring and faculty and doctoral educational offerings.
- The Mini-grants/Pilots Workgroup who help design and oversee the Pilot Grants Program.
- The Community Education Workgroup who help develop and offer programs for practitioners which translate research findings for practice.
In order to promote its goals, CWDAIR has established the following program elements:
- A Statistical Team for statistical guidance, mentoring and assistance with data analysis on pilot projects and proposals.
- Junior Faculty mentoring through assigned mentors and the Faculty and Doctoral Student Development Workgroup.
- A mini-grants program to provide assistance for pilot projects, particularly those led by junior faculty and follow-up funding for the preparation of NIH proposals.
- Doctoral student development through research assistantships, mentoring, a dissertation seminar, and support to attend workshops and other trainings.
- Proposal review by the NIH Applications Workgroup and other experienced reviewers.
- A Seminar Series and an annual conference.
- A Research Facilitation Group to promote proposal development.
In the first year, the CWDAIR program is supporting two pilot projects:
- Inter-Agency Collaborative Relationships and Effective Treatment Services for Child Welfare Clients. (Brenda Smith, PI). This project is developing and testing methods to assess collaboration between child welfare agencies and substance abuse treatment providers. Data from this pilot will advance understanding of factors that promote the formation of collaborative relationships in child welfare and substance abuse treatment, and lead to a larger study that will scan the existence and nature of collaboration activities.
- Predictors of Drug Relapse in HIV-infected Women: An Exploration of the Unified Theory of Behavior. (Bonnie Carlson, PI). This study is an application of the UTB model in predicting relapse following drug treatment in HIV-positive mothers. Investigators are developing measures of parent-child relationships, and experiences HIV-positive mothers have had with the child welfare system, in order to undertake a larger longitudinal study of predictors of relapse. This will inform an intervention model for at-risk women.