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Testa and Childs to work on federal project to improve foster care and adoption services

Nonprofit child welfare agency Spaulding for Children, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was awarded funds to launch the National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption/Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC).

This federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is for a five-year cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau of the Administration on Children and Families. The total award is $23.4 million, with $3.4 million the first year and $5 million for years 2-5. Of the first-year amount, the University of Texas at Austin will receive $1.65 million; and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will receive about $1.8 million, which includes a sub-award to the UNC School of Social Work.

The overall goal of the QIC is to build and disseminate evidence for effective models of permanency planning and post-permanency services and support. Using a rigorous, multi-step process, the QIC will select six to eight sites across the nation that will design, develop and implement replicable effective models of service delivery to support permanency in adoption and guardianship families.

These interventions will focus on the needs of two populations: waiting children; and children and their families who have finalized adoption or guardianship. The leadership team’s expertise will be supplemented by a 27-member advisory board which includes subject matter experts and adult and youth consumers across the nation.

Mark F. Testa, Ph.D., Spears-Turner Distinguished Professor at the UNC School of Social Work, will chair the leadership team and advisory board for the QIC. This position will be responsible for general oversight of the project framework, providing design guidance, implementation, and evaluation. The chair will meet regularly with the leadership team to discuss progress, provide guidance, and assist with site implementation.

Selena Childs, clinical assistant professor and director of strategic initiatives in the UNC School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families, will work with Testa to coordinate the leadership team and advisory board efforts.