Research Projects

Social Emotional Health and Well-Being

Current Projects

Partnering for Excellence

July 2012 - Ongoing

This project is an evaluation of Benchmarks’ Partnering for Excellence (PFE), a model that seeks to improve the well-being of children and families in contact with the child welfare system and reduce the need for higher end behavioral services through a more trauma-informed community, which can result in reduces in behavioral healthcare expenditures.

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Childhood Risk Factors and Young Adult Competence

July 2017 - June 2022

Using the most diverse, prospectively studied, multi-national sample to date, this study will generate empirical findings to develop a model of child- and family-level mediators and culture-level moderators of the role of childhood risk factors and young adult competence and maladaptation. Cross-cultural comparisons will inform domestic models of young adult maladaptation.

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N.C. Resilience and Learning

July 2017 - Ongoing

The North Carolina Resilience and Learning Project is a partnership with the Public School Forum of North Carolina to promote and support trauma-informed schools across the state. The project team works closely with districts and schools to provide professional learning and ongoing coaching to meet school-specific needs and goals. Our work aims to create systems-level change by shifting the culture and mindset of an entire school so that staff begin to see a child’s behavior in the context of their life experiences, in consideration of possible trauma history or stress response system triggers.

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Intergenerational Persistence of Treatment Effects

September 2017 - August 2022

Many childhood interventions target low-income and high-risk children, with evidence that some early interventions improve adult health and wellbeing. This study asks whether children who benefit from early interventions grow up to become better parents and, subsequently, have children who experience fewer health problems, educational challenges, and emotional problems.

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ITTI Care

September 2018 - Ongoing

The Infant-Toddler Trauma-Informed Care (ITTI Care) Project leverages the existing early childhood education workforce support system to expand and strengthen trauma-informed knowledge and practice within the communities they serve.

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Children of Color in the (Southern) Welfare State: How Politics, Poverty, and Social Policy Implementation Shape Child Development in the Rural South

July 2019 - July 2024

Thia study draws from quantitative and ethnographic data across three rural counties to examine how the distinct features of rural southern communities inform organizational practices of public welfare agencies in ways that reinforce racial inequality and negatively influences family processes and adolescent development outcomes. This study examines how rural contexts shape access to four prominent safety net programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Child Care Subsidy, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

read more about Children of Color in the (Southern) Welfare State: How Politics, Poverty, and Social Policy Implementation Shape Child Development in the Rural South

Guilford County Incredible Years Preschool Sustainability Project

September 2019 - August 2022

In 2017-18 and 2018-19, with funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, we provided training to 54 classrooms in Guilford County to promote the implementation of two of the Incredible Years Series of Programs: Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management and Incredible Years Dinosaur School.

read more about Guilford County Incredible Years Preschool Sustainability Project

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Economic and Psychological Well-Being of Hourly Service Workers and their Families

September 2019 - June 2022

Around 1,000 hourly service workers with young children in a large US city were sampled with an initial focus on work schedule unpredictability and worker and family well-being. The data collection then shifted with the emergence of COVID-19 to reflect pandemic-related concerns such as food insecurity, job loss, income, and access to pandemic-specific and broader social safety net policy supports.

read more about Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Economic and Psychological Well-Being of Hourly Service Workers and their Families

Dimensions of Child Adversity and Health Risk Behaviors in Young Adulthood

September 2019 - August 2022

Childhood adversity impacts both neurobiological and psychological development and is frequently found to be a strong predictor of adverse outcomes in adulthood, including risk behaviors such as interpersonal violence, alcohol problems, and sexual risk-taking.

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Evaluation of the Responsive Early Access for Durham’s Young Children (READY)

September 2019 - August 2024

Evaluation of a unified strategy to early childhood development called Responsive Early Access for Durham’s Young Children (READY). READY was created by a Durham-based nonprofit in partnership with early care and education, pediatrics, family support, mental health, and homeless services organizations and professionals.

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Early Identification and Prevention of Child Maltreatment: Cross-Agency Processes and Outcomes

December 2019 - Ongoing

Local social service agencies and health care providers routinely make decisions regarding a child’s risk for maltreatment. Yet, providers have limited information to guide their decisions and rarely receive feedback regarding the children’s long-term outcomes.

read more about Early Identification and Prevention of Child Maltreatment: Cross-Agency Processes and Outcomes

Parenting Across Cultures: COVID-19

July 2020 - June 2022

This project builds on the ongoing Parenting Across Cultures (PAC) longitudinal study that began in 2008 with recruitment of a sample of 1,417 8-year-old children and their mothers and fathers from nine countries. In 2020, COVID-19-related questions were added to assess behavioral and emotional functioning in relation to the rapidly-evolving situation in each country’s response to the pandemic.

read more about Parenting Across Cultures: COVID-19

Examining Medicaid and the Nutrition Program for Women and Children to Understand How to Design Social Policy to Achieve Health Equity

September 2020 - September 2022

This research will provide an in-depth view of variation in state-level policy rules and program administration across WIC and Medicaid in three states and illuminate the consequences for policy beneficiaries’ ability to access benefits, engage with programs, and function as democratic citizens.

read more about Examining Medicaid and the Nutrition Program for Women and Children to Understand How to Design Social Policy to Achieve Health Equity

Past Projects