Mark Testa, Ph.D., is the principal investigator of a new project funded by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to support the Planning and Design Options for Evaluation of the Long-Term Foster Care Initiative (LTFC). The local sites awarded nearly $9.5 million to help reduce the number of children in long-term foster care include:
- University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., which will partner with four private providers of family preservation and family reunification services throughout Kansas to expedite permanency for children with severe emotional disturbances.
- California Department of Social Services, which will convene a partnership of state, local and non-profit agencies in the four pilot counties of Fresno, Humboldt, Los Angeles and Santa Clara. The partners will collaborate to reduce long-term foster care for African American and Native American youth.
- Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, which will create a county-wide system of care to address barriers to permanency and well-being for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning children and youth that are in or at-risk of placement in foster care, placement in the juvenile justice system, or homelessness.
- Arizona Department of Economic Security, which will provide intensive services to the Native American and African American adolescents in the central region of Arizona to prepare them for permanency.
- Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which will provide trauma-focused therapy for youth ages 9 to 12 who are at high risk of needing long-term foster care. This program will train children’s caregivers, involve their birth parents, and locate other relatives who can be potential placements.
- Washoe County, Nevada Department of Social Services, which will integrate two promising approaches into its Safety Intervention Permanency System designed to work with families to keep children safe and out of foster care, as well as to improve outcomes for children at risk of staying in foster care long term.
Testa’s role as P.I. of the cross-site evaluation team consisting of Westat and James Bell and Associates (JBA) will be to review and finalize site-specific evaluation plans with each of the funded LTFC grantees and design a cross-site evaluation to answer questions about the LTFC initiative as a whole. Tasks to be performed during the 12-month award are intended to establish partnerships and lay a foundation for possible future data collection, analysis, and dissemination activities for the LTFC initiative.
He is the Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professor.