Research is at the heart of all we do at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. As one of the nation's foremost multidisciplinary centers devoted to the study of children from infancy to adolescence, our scientists are committed to conducting research and evaluation studies that improve children's lives, support families, and inform public policy.
Learn more about our projects—current and completed—by clicking on the links below. And to stay up to date on news and events related to our work via social media, visit our Project Digital Directory.
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The purpose of this project is to establish a data governance system for the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) that supports integrated and consistent information sharing across the Division and with outside stakeholders. The work primarily involves gathering and organizing information to develop inventory spreadsheets of federal and legislative reporting requirements and requests and early childhood data sharing across units/sections within the Division; working with key Division staff to develop a standard operating procedures portfolio for collecting, analyzing, updating, and sharing data with stakeholders outside of the Division; and proposing metrics for all units/sections across the Division to use for publicly shared data.
The following specific activities will be conducted for the purpose of producing the legislatively mandated annual report from Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) regarding the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program: Extraction of data from NC Pre-K administrative databases provided to FPG by NC DHHD/DCDEE. This will occur on a monthly basis. Cleaning of monthly data extracts in collaboration with DCDEE staff. Compilation of the cleaned monthly data extractions into a longitudinal database that preserves the time-specific status of the NC Pre-K system. Analysis of extracted data according to guidance of the legislation requiring annual reporting on the NC Pre-K system. Preparation of the legislatively mandated material in draft report format. Analyses and additions to draft report as directed by DCDEE (within the resources provided by this contract). Ongoing communication with DCDEE regarding report content, progress of work, and requested revisions and edits to report draft resulting in production of a final report.
The Impact Center at FPG’s Implementation Capacity for Triple P (ICTP) projects are currently supporting the scale-up and expansion of Triple P System of Interventions in North Carolina. In the proposed project, the ICTP project team embedded in NC Triple P Support System will provide direct implementation support to ten NC Triple P regions to aid and support local, regional, and state partners’ scale-up of Triple P. The ICTP project team will collaborate with PCANC and Triple P America to align Triple P support system so that multifaceted, yet well-coordinated supports are available to statewide partners. Furthermore, ICTP teams will continue providing implementation science guidance to the NC Triple P Partnership for Strategy and Governance (PSG) and the Triple P NC Learning Collaborative (NCLC). Lastly, the ICTP project team plans to develop online implementation learning resources and/or communication products to facilitate greater application of implementation science and best practices for Triple P scale-up and continue to identify opportunities to enhance Triple P quality and outcome monitoring for improvement at community and state levels.
The purpose of this project is to establish the psychometric feature and instrument useability of a practitioner-administered observer impression scale assessment of preschool children’s peer-related social competence. The ratings for this scale are based on three 5-minute observations of preschool children engaging in social interaction with their peers. The information may be used for general assessment for all children, screening for children who may need support in establishing positive peer social competence, and progress monitoring. Phase 1 of this project will focus on content validity, cultural and ethnic appropriateness of items, and instrumentation that would allow for online data collection. Phase 2 of the project will involve large-scale data collection that will allow instrument modification, confirmatory factor analysis, and evaluation of useability. Phase 3 of the project will examine criterion-related validity, utility as a progress monitoring tool, interactions of child and rater demographic characteristics, and scalability. At the end of this project, a fully developed, psychometrically verified, and practical assessment of preschool children’s peer social competence, suitable for scaling up for program use, will be available to early childhood programs and practitioners.
Through the OJJDP FY 2021 Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative, the Impact Center at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (subcontractor and partner) will support Westat as the prime applicant, along with other project partners, to advance state level juvenile justice systems toward the adoption and delivery of evidence-supported practices stemming from a full system review, recommended modifications, capacity building where needed (or desired), and enhanced performance of chosen reforms.
OJJDP Juvenile Justice System Enhancements is a three-year broad systems improvement project. It is designed to advance state level juvenile justice systems toward the adoption and delivery of evidence-supported practices stemming from a full system review, recommended modifications, capacity building where needed (or desired), and enhanced performance of chosen reforms.
Overcoming Structural Racism in Housing Stability and Wealth-building: Laying the Foundation for Community Health and Wellbeing
The aim of this research project is to investigate the relationships among housing stability, health and well-being, and climate change vulnerability. Findings will be shared with our community-both with people who experience homelessness and housing instability and with organizations and agencies working to serve those populations. The goal is that the research findings will advance racial and economic justice, not just in Orange and Durham Counties, but throughout the United States. As a nonprofit working toward systems change, these findings will influence the day-to-day programmatic work that CEF does and help to influence how CEF can use its person-centered approach while simultaneously steering members toward specific measures that increase stability.
The JOIN for ME program is a pediatric weight management intervention that can be delivered in community settings, with potential for national dissemination. We will package the JOIN for ME program to increase acceptability and feasibility for delivery in low-income communities and test implementation in two novel settings: the housing authority and the patient-centered medical home. The revised JOIN for ME package will be tested in a rigorous implementation study.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate two group-based treatments: (1) the Program for Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), which targets social skills, and (2) Unstuck and On Target (UOT), which targets executive function skills. The interventions are two 45-minute sessions per week across 16 weeks and will be implemented by school-based staff in middle schools in North Carolina and Southern California (San Diego area).
This project will support the University of Kansas in their research of the RAISE intervention to accelerate post-pandemic learning gains for students with or at risk for disabilities. The project involves implementing an evidence-based intervention on use of data to match instruction to student’s need, collecting data from participating schools, analyzing data, preparing reports and dashboards for monitoring and disseminating results.
Through the Research-Policy and Practice Collaboration, FPG will develop structures to initiate working toward project goals and develop plans for expanding this work to educate/co-create learning between academia and policy practice in service of career advancement/efficacy. FPG will also review research and conduct analyses as directed by the Division to inform evidence-based decision-making at the state level, educate the public, and guide future efforts designed to support young children and families. Finally, FPG will provide coordination support for the B-3 Interagency Council and the B-3 Interagency Council planning team.
The RI-Asthma Integrated Response (RI-AIR) Asthma Care Implementation Program (ACIP) is a comprehensive system of identification, screening, and intervention for pediatric asthma. We aim to demonstrate that RI-AIR ACIP is a replicable, evidence-based, and cost-saving model that improves asthma outcomes for children at most risk, and can be disseminated to other urban communities to address asthma disparities.
Scaling Targeted Reading Instruction (TRI) to Serve Students Impacted by COVID-19: High-Dosage Digital Implementation of an Effective Reading Intervention
This project will train school staff who support students using pull-out reading instruction and intervention (e.g., “educators” such as reading specialists, paraeducators, instructional facilitators, tutors) to use Targeted Reading Instruction (TRI, formerly called Targeted Reading Intervention) with two adaptations: 1) a digital version of the traditionally “paper and pencil” intervention (“TRI app”) in a 2) high dosage model whereby educators provide daily reading support to multiple K-3 students not yet reading on grade level.
Starting Them off on the Right Path: Utilizing Home Visiting to Address Race-based Trauma and Support Children's Racial Identity Formation
As part of this developmental evaluation, Phase 2 of this project will focus on: (a) evaluating the joint development of curriculum materials/resources; (b) drafting short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes for intended stakeholder groups (parent educators, parents, children); (c) developing an implementation plan to pilot the full implementation; and (d) designing measures to evaluate the development of curriculum materials/resources, understand the content being developed, and gather insights from users to design evaluation in Phase 3.
This project's purpose is to develop and enhance the knowledge on the practices and supports necessary to improve access and participation within STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities.
Strenghtening Education Through Equitable and Inclusive Evidence-based Teaching Practices: A systematic literature review
This project involves a systematic review of literature on evidence-based teaching practices in the K-12 education system in the United States to (1) identify practices that have demonstrated success in academic achievement for diverse students, (2) examine whether these successful teaching practices have been adopted and implemented, and (3) identify system conditions needed to adopt. A review of the literature will be completed, and a list of articles and publications will be identified. A team of researchers at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute will code a set of articles every week. Ten percent of the articles will be double-coded for reliability purposes. The literature review will result in an open-access publication to inform the field.
Early childhood educators (ECE) work with young children with disabilities as well as children from diverse backgrounds to support learning and development. It is critical for ECEs to be adequately prepared to serve children who are linguistically, culturally, and ability-diverse. The purpose of this project is to work with early childhood community college programs in North Carolina to enhance and redesign courses to better prepare ECEs to work with children with disabilities and children from diverse backgrounds.
The Development of Gut Microbiota and Behavioral Inhibition in Childhood: The Role of Early Stress and Brain Development
The current study will be the first to examine the influence of early toxic stress, including the distal effects of living in poverty as well as the proximal factors of negative parenting and household chaos, on the development of gut microbiome diversity and maturity across 15, 24, 26, and 54 months.
The Impact Center at FPG's Implementation Capacity for Triple P (ICTP) projects are currently supporting the scale-up and expansion of Triple P System of Interventions in North and South Carolina.
The Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects group is dedicated to improving the availability and quality of services, and ensuring optimal outcomes, for very young children with, or at risk for, disabilities and their families. We assist states and local agencies that provide early intervention and early childhood special education.
The DCFW Implementation Support Project for the DHHS Child Behavioral Health Leadership Team and its component projects proposal creates an implementation science, practice-based approach in support of a multi-tiered policy/governance, program (e.g., EBP) support, and delivery system across North Carolina. The Impact Center expects to work alongside and receive directions from DCFW Leadership, embed implementation science best practices within the team, its projects, and support system partners where directed.
The goal of this project is to validate the Early Communication Indicator for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ECI-ASD) using a robust and representative multi-site sample of well-characterized children with autism spectrum disorder to determine the psychometric features of this instrument and its ability to detect change over time.
Virginia's Evidence-Based Practice Initiative is seeking support for capacity development in best practices of implementation science. Multiple agencies within the state of Virginia are collaborating in their efforts to foster and facilitate the use of evidence within their local communities. The collaborating state agencies include the Office of Children Services (OCS), Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Education (VDOE), Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services (DBHDS), and Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS). A state leadership team comprised of representation from these various state agencies has been formed to design and lead the initiative. The National Implementation Research Network (NIRN; http://nirn.fpg.unc.edu) and partners within the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute propose providing a blended model of training, coaching, and consultation supports to support the implementation of the Virginia Evidence-Based Practice Initiative through a Transformation Zone approach. Equity will be centered and explicitly attended to in all aspects of services provided.
Research team will consult with Wake County Smart Start (WCSS) to support a WCSS-led participatory research project that will lead to the development of WCSS strategic plan community driven outcomes. Following with their strategic plan priorities of equity, family engagement and leadership and data informed decision making, WCSS would like to develop community driven outcomes through a participatory research project. The project will collaborate and share power with families and community members in the development of outcomes that measure WCSS’ success in meeting their strategic plan goals. The project will be co-designed, co-facilitated and collaboratively analyzed and disseminated by community and family co-investigators.
The Dogwood Health Trust (DHT) Education Strategic Priorities seek to ensure that every child in Western North Carolina has access to early education with nurturing, well-prepared caregivers to prepare them for school and life success. The four goals to meet this outcome include launching landscape studies, improving the early care and education ecosystem, improving K-12 education, and supporting higher education career readiness. The Equity Research Action Coalition at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute will engage in three related strands of work to support DHT’s Education Strategic Priorities. The first strand is engagement in the convening of DHT’s RFP Education Strategy launch, and the second strand is thought and data leadership in an equity-centered academy, followed by an equity-centered report.
The goal of this project is to identify opportunities and barriers to community based organizations, namely civil rights organizations such as the NAACP, The Leadership Conference, the National Urban League, NALEO Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), National Congress of American Indian (NCAI) in prioritizing early childhood development including access to high quality and affordable child care.