African American Language in Children’s Literature

Project Description

Family child care homes (FCCHs) are an important part of the early care and education system in North Carolina. While they make up only about a quarter of licensed care providers, they provide a critical service especially to families that work non-traditional hours, reside in rural communities or speak primary languages other than English. Despite this important role, the number of FCCHs has been steadily decreasing, contributing the existing shortage of affordable child care slots in our state and worsening access issues for many families that need care. In 2022, the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education (NCDCDEE) completed a needs assessment update as part of their Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5). Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) served as a key partner in this effort. Findings from this needs assessment highlighted the troubling decline in FCCHs in North Carolina over the past few decades and spurred NCDCDEE to further explore this issue, with the aim of identifying the challenges and barriers contributing to this decline and developing recommendations to inform policymaking.

Project Goals

NCDCDEE contracted with the Hunt Institute, Afton and CCFP to

  • conduct a comprehensive literature review,
  • develop maps that illustrate child care deserts within the state,
  • collect qualitative data from key stakeholders, and
  • develop policy recommendations focused on these issues.

CCFP researchers will facilitate stakeholder roundtables, conduct interviews with key state leaders in the ECE space, and lead parent and provider advisory panels with the goal of helping to answer the key research questions including:

  1. What barriers and challenges do family child care home providers experience with opening, operating, and/or expanding their business?
  2. Where are child care deserts across the country and in North Carolina?


Project Description

This study will collect data from approximately 750 university students in Ukraine in the winter of 2023. Self-reported data will include measures on adjustment, well-being, outlook, substance use, stress,  and other factors. One-third of the participants provided data during the winter of 2022-23, which will allow researchers to study changes in student well-being over time. In addition to surveying students, parents of young people in the study will also be invited to participate. Data will be used to identify profiles and predictors of risk and resilience and will provide a description of Ukrainian youth mental health during the military invasion.  This research will provide insight into how best to support the mental health of young people during a global crisis.

Project Goals

This project will study what factors influence how adolescents, young adults and their parents are adjusting during a military invasion in four regions of Ukraine. The goals are to:

  • Investigate factors associated with post-traumatic stress and growth.  We will collect self-report data from young people and a parent regarding individual characteristics (e.g., hope, optimism, nationalism), family characteristics (e.g., parent-child communication), and community characteristics (e.g., number of missile siren warnings and the presence of Russian troops) and their associations with stress, anxiety, depression, health, and well-being.
  • Re-interview past adolescent and young adult participants to examine longitudinal predictors of adjustment changes over time.
  • Explore the feasibility of measuring cortisol levels as a marker of stress by collecting hair samples from adolescent and young adult participants.

Project Description

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), in partnership with the Children’s Hospital at Oklahoma University Medicine Substance Use Treatment & Access to Resources (STAR) Clinic, and with the support of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), will develop the Substance use Treatment and Access to Resources and Supports (STARS) program for pregnant women who have a substance use issue and babies who have been exposed to substances and partnering with the OU-STAR clinic for prenatal care, substance use treatment, supports and after care.  The STARS program will focus on women and babies residing in Oklahoma County at the time of birth who are at risk of removal and will follow the family when returning to the local community. Plans of Safe care will be developed prior to the birth of the child.

In Oklahoma, as in most jurisdictions, a majority of child welfare cases involve children under age 6, and substance use is a contributing factor for most removals of children in this age group.  Sadly, of the more than 70 ODMHSAS contracted addiction centers, only 15 facilities currently provide services to the children while treating parents for substance abuse.  The STARS project  intends to rectify this service gap within the largest metropolitan area of the state, providing wrap-around substance use disorder (SUD) services for a minimum of 96 families over the four-year implementation period. The project also aims to test an innovative approach to enhancing parent and child well-being by pairing these prenatal SUD services with an adaptation to an evidence-based early home visiting model (Modified Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up).

Project Goals

The overarching goal is to increase the well-being of, and to improve the permanency outcomes for, children and families affected by or exposed to opioids and other substance use.

The focus of the STARS program will

  1. Increase the knowledge base of the medical, therapy and child welfare by developing a training dissemination plan and cross training;
  2. Enhance the well-being of children, parents, and families and improve safe and permanent caregiving relationships;
  3. Improve the substance abuse treatment outcomes for parents;
  4. Facilitate the implementation, delivery, and effectiveness of prevention services and programs under the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018;
  5. Decrease the number of out of home placements for children through develop Plans of Safe Care prior to delivery by providing Wraparound services and connecting to resources to support the mother and baby after delivery to ensure they have a safe environment and lifestyle; and
  6. Decrease the number of children who are at risk of being placed in an out-of-home placement by providing services and supports prior to the delivery of the baby.

Anticipated outcomes include improved child well-being, improved permanency outcomes for children and families affected by or exposed to substance use, enhanced child safety, and increased systems collaboration.

Related Resources

Project Description

This study of the postive parenting app tests the feasibility and effectiveness of a mobile-based app intervention designed to enhance home visiting by providing in-the-moment parenting tips with the goal of increasing healthy parent-child interactions leading to resiliency in high-risk children.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) profoundly influence brain and behavioral development and long-term risk for mental and physical illness. Parenting is a robust predictor of resilience in the face of adversity. As such, nationwide, numerous efforts have been initiated to reduce rates of ACEs by promoting positive parenting practices (e.g., reading, eating meals together) in high-risk families. One such effort is home visiting, which provides one-on-one coaching to help parents learn safety, health, and parenting skills to promote child development and improve family functioning. While there are positive impacts to home visiting programs, none have been shown to move the needle on significant improvement in the psychosocial adjustment of adversity-exposed children. The positive parenting app will compliment and extend home visiting by delivering twice-daily tailored messages with tips on positive parenting and promoting child development. Ecological momentary assessments (EMA) of parenting behaviors, parent and child emotional functioning, and parent-child interactions will also be collected via the app.

Project Goals

Overall, this study aims to:

  • Promote of resiliency and child development in children growing up in high-risk environments,
  • Help prevent child maltreatment and early adversity exposure, and
  • Reduce lifetime disease and health consequences linked to adversity.

By doing the following:

  1. Test a low-cost, far-reaching intervention delivered via cutting-edge mHealth app technology,
  2. Examine the effectiveness of a mHealth app intervention at improving positive parenting practices measured in-the-moment in a sample of parents at increased risk for adverse childhood experiences exposure and child welfare involvement, and
  3. Examine within and between person differences via ecological momentary assessments, thereby strengthening causal implications.

Project Description

This project expands reach, builds capacity, and scales up evidence-based programs offering positive youth development and sexuality education to address health disparities in the most vulnerable areas across rural Eastern North Carolina. The project partners with interdisciplinary professionals to connect with youth most in need within community-based organizations, juvenile justice, foster care, and supportive school settings. The project uses a mixed methods approach to monitor and evaluate implementation, scale-up, and sustainability from the perspective of different key stakeholders, including adolescents, parents and guardians, youth service providers, and agency leaders.

Project Goals

This grant aims to reduce teen pregnancy and improve adolescent health in high-risk rural communities in Eastern North Carolina by strengthening operational and programmatic capacity for evidence-based programs that focus on positive youth development, pregnancy prevention, healthy relationships, and mental health.