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2011 Community Partner Award
2011 Community Partner Award

The School of Social Work's Regional Research Institute for Human Services (RRI) was honored with the 2011 Community Partner award from Portland Public Schools. The RRI has a longstanding partnership with Portland Public Schools and this award was given in recognition of the My Life Project and Project Success, led by Laurie Powers and Sarah Geenen at the RRI, Integrated Services staff Diann Drummond and May Nelson at Portland Public Schools, and Larry Dalton from Oregon DHS Child Welfare. These projects were the first randomized studies conducted in the U.S. to evaluate the effects of a self-determination intervention on the educational success and transition to adulthood of youth in foster care and special education. Youth in the intervention group participated in individualized coaching in applying self-determination skills to achieve their academic and transition goals. They also attended group mentoring activities and took leading roles in their educational and transition planning meetings, which brought together school staff, case workers, and representatives of other agencies and organizations working with each youth. MSW students provided coaching to the youth through their field placements. The outcomes of these projects are very promising and have resulted in a new round of funding for two larger research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Institute on Educational Sciences. The RRI, Portland Public Schools, and DHS Child Welfare are continuing their partnership in this important research.