Current Research Projects

Our Mission

We engage in equity-driven research, evaluation, and consultation to promote social justice for children, youth, families, and communities.

  • We facilitate change by collaborating with families, practitioners and other partners to:
    • Amplify marginalized voices.
    • Illuminate inequities and address root causes.
    • Identify, collect, and make meaning of data.
    • Co-create and disseminate actionable recommendations
  • We approach our work with a learning orientation, taking ownership of our positionalities.
  • We commit to leveraging our resources and privileges in service of families and communities.

Using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, our research projects aim to provide useful information that informs policy and program improvement. Below is a list of the research we are currently conducting. If you would like to learn more about these projects and/or would like to receive information about the services we provide, please contact our Director of Early Childhood and Family Support Research, Beth Green.





Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention

 Project Title Funding Brief Summary, Reports & Presentations Evaluation Team
Ecological Systems Approach to the Investigation of Child Neglect in Early Head Start Administration for Children & Families, 2014-current This project, a partnership with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, builds on an ongoing longitudinal investigation of the effectiveness of Early Head Start in preventing child maltreatment.  The study applies innovative analytic methods, including multilevel modeling, latent growth curve modeling, and network analysis to evaluate whether and how EHS promotes resilient pathways for families at risk for neglectful caregiving, with broad implications for policy and practice aimed at preventing and addressing child neglect.
Retrospective Evaluation of Child Welfare Involvement for Early Head Start participants Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010-2016

In collaboration with Harvard University’s Brazelton Touchpoints Center, we are collecting and analyzing state administrative child welfare data to determine if the Early Head Start program is effective in helping to prevent child maltreatment.

Completed Research >>

Child Welfare

Project Title Funding Brief Summary, Reports & Presentations Evaluation Team
Child Welfare Staff & Caregiver Training Evaluation Oregon Department of Human Services, Ongoing

The Child Welfare Partnership Training Unit provides classroom and both synchronous and asynchronous distance training to Oregon’s child welfare workforce, caregivers, tribes, and community partners. Formative evaluation is conducted for all trainings provided by the training unit and is aimed at improving design and delivery to best meet the learning needs of the intended audience.

  • A re-design of new child welfare caseworker training and evaluation is currently underway with a target implementation date of July 1, 2017. Learn more >>
Title IV-E Child Welfare Education Program Evaluation US Department of Human Services Administration for Children and Families & Oregon Department of Human Services, Ongoing

The Child Welfare Education Program (CWEP) is a partnership between Portland State University’s School of Social Work and Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Welfare Agency. The mission of the program is to improve outcomes to children and families who come in contact with State or Tribal Child Welfare by strengthening the child welfare workforce.The program assists state and tribal child welfare employees and recruits in pursuing a Bachelor or Master of Social Work degree with a focus of study in child welfare, providing tuition assistance, specialized course work and educational support.The current CWEP evaluation focuses on providing formative evaluation data to University and agency stakeholders.  The evaluation aims to identify areas of strength and needed improvement at all stages of the CWEP process from application through payback and retention.

IV-E Waiver Evaluation – Leveraging Intensive Family Engagement (LIFE) Program Evaluation Children’s Bureau & Oregon Department of Human Services

In partnership with Oregon’s Department of Human Services, we are conducting qualitative and quantitative research to document the implementation and outcomes of the LIFE program. LIFE is an innovative approach to reducing time in out of home placement by providing intensive, multi-modal interventions that integrate Family Finding, Family Meetings, Parent Mentors, and a focus on family and youth voice in reducing the time spent in care for youth at high risk for long term foster care placements.

Completed Research >>

Early Childhood

Project Title Funding Brief Summary, Reports & Presentations Evaluation Team
Coos-Curry Prenatal-Grade 3 Alignment Evaluation The Ford Family Foundation, 2016 We are working in partnership with the Ford Family Foundation and the South Coast Regional Early Learning Hub to support community-based, collaborative work to build effective systems from birth to Grade 3 for children and families. This project takes a Developmental Evaluation approach in which researchers actively partner with community members to collect and use data for ongoing program development and improvement.
Early Works! Evaluation The Children’s Institute & the Ford Family Foundation, 2011-Ongoing The evaluation team works in partnership with project leadership to collect outcome and process information from two project sites, Earl Boyles & Yoncalla Elementary Schools, to determine if their interventions are improving children's success in school and reducing achievement gaps between students. To learn more about this initiative, visit their website.


Evaluation of the Kindergarten Readiness Partnership & Innovation Grants Oregon Early Learning Division, July 2014-June 2017 We are assisting them with collecting data in 16 Oregon communities to determine project effectiveness: (1) improving children's kindergarten readiness; (2) increasing opportuinties for shared professional development; (3) engaging families and creating school-family-early learning partnerships; and (4) investing in children most likely to be at risk for starting school without key foundational experiences and skills. Available products:
Healthy Families Oregon Statewide Evaluation Oregon Early Learning Division, 2000-current Coming soon! Available products:
Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Social Innovation Funds, United Way of Lane County, 2016

This project is conducting a process and outcome evaluation of a county-wide expansion of the Kids in Transition to School Program, and evidence-based program to improve school readiness in Lane County, Oregon. Available Products:

Prenatal to Grade 3 Alignment Initiative Oregon Community Foundation, 2014-Ongoing  The purpose of this project is to create stronger connections between elementary schools & providers of early childhood care/education programs; and between schools & parents of young children in 10 grantee communities across Oregon. The evaluation team developed data collection tools and is currently providing data collection and utilization training and technical assistance, and conducting systems evaluation data collection and analysis. Available products:
Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) Early Learning Division & Oregon State University, 2016

With funding from the Race-to-the-Top grant, we are working with Oregon State University researchers to conduct a validation study to support the state’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). The QRIS provides technical assistance to child care facilities to improve quality, as well as ratings for child care facilities to help parents in decision-making. Center staff are collecting standardized observational measures of child care quality statewide to assess the extent to which QRIS ratings correspond to observed quality. Available products:

Southern Oregon Regional Home Visiting System Evaluation The Ford Family Foundation, 2016

We are working in partnership with the Ford Family Foundation and Coos, Curry, Klamath, Douglas, and Siskiyou Counties to support development of coordinating home visiting systems. The team is working to provide data that partners are using to plan, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts to develop coordinated intake and referral, shared professional development, and community awareness about home visiting.

Completed Research >>


 Project Title Funding Brief Summary, Reports & Presentations Evaluation Team
K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Time Initiative Oregon Community Foundation, August 2016-July 2018 The Oregon Community Foundation launched the K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Time Initiative in November 2013 with the goal of bolstering attendance and academic success for Oregon’s middle school students including programs focused on students of color, low-income students and students living in rural communities. The evaluation provides information to inform future OCF initiatives, support continuous quality improvement of out-of-school-time programs, and to further the out-of-school time field.

Completed Research >>