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Fostering Healthy Futures


Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) is a positive youth development program for preadolescent youth, ages 9 to 11, with a history of placement in out-of-home care.  The program uses a combination of screening assessments, individual mentoring, and group-based skills training to promote healthy development and reduce risk factors for adverse outcomes.
The Fostering Healthy Futures program has:
  • Demonstrated positive impacts for youth in multiple domains
  • Been named an evidence-based program
  • Provided over 35,000 hours of face-to-face prevention programming for over 250 youth
  • Provided over 80,000 hours of training to graduate students
  • Served as the field placement site for 130 graduate interns in social work and psychology
  • Trained over 100 graduate student research assistants, medical students and postdoctoral fellows
  • Produced over 30 peer-reviewed publications 
The FHF program is currently in Phase II, which includes program dissemination and implementation activities, as well as expanding the mentoring program for teens. Please contact the Program Director, Heather Taussig, for more information about Phase II activities.

 

Heather Taussig, Ph.D., Program Director
heather.taussig@childrenscolorado.org
303-864-5216
 
Melody Combs, Ph.D., Project and Research Manager
melody.combs@childrenscolorado.org
303-864-5379
 
Orah Fireman, M.Ed., LCSW, Clinical Team Leader
orah.fireman@childrenscolorado.org
303-864-5210
 
John Holmberg, Psy.D., Dissemination Coordinator
john.holmberg@childrenscolorado.org
303-864-5115
 
Robyn Wertheimer, LCSW, Training Coordinator, Clinical Team Leader
robyn.wertheimer@childrenscolorado.org
303-864-5240

 

Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) is a program of clinical research with maltreated youth who have a history of out-of-home placement that focuses on: (1) the identification of salient and modifiable risk and protective factors, and (2) the development and testing of novel preventive intervention strategies.

The preadolescent FHF program has been tested in a rigorous randomized controlled trial for 11 years, with over 425 participants. Youth who receive the program, relative to those who receive an assessment only, evidence: 

  • Better mental health functioning
  • Less trauma symptomatology, including dissociative symptoms
  • Less mental health treatment
  • Higher quality of life
  • Fewer placement changes
  • Less residential treatment
  • Higher rates of permanency, including reunification and adoption
References:

Taussig, H.N., & Culhane, S.E. (2010). Impact of a mentoring and skills group program on mental health outcomes for maltreated children in foster care. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 164, 739-746.

Taussig, H.N., Culhane, S.E., Garrido, E., & Knudtson, M.D. (2012). RCT of a mentoring and skills group program: Placement and permanency outcomes for foster youth. Pediatrics, 130:e33-e39. 

Program Recognition

The FHF program has been named an evidence-based program by the Administration for Children, Youth and Families and received the highest rating of any mentoring program by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, see:  http://www.cebc4cw.org/program/fostering-healthy-futures-fhf/  

Current clinical research includes:
  • Completing a 5-county efficacy trial
  • Examining additional program outcomes and potential moderating/mediating factors
  • Identifying risk and protective factors for youth placed in out-of-home care
  • Initiating program dissemination and implementation through community-based agencies
  • Developing a mentoring intervention for teens with a history of out-of-home placement
Grant Funding

The Fostering Healthy Futures Program has been supported by 4 federal grants and 2 Supplements (totaling over $4 million) from the National Institute of Mental Health (R03 MH56781, K01 MH01972, R21 MH067618, and R01 MH076919). In addition, it has received multiple State, University, and Children’s Hospital Colorado grants. The Kempe Foundation has provided substantial support since the program’s inception, including obtaining over 50 grants for the program, totaling close to $1 million. In addition, the Pioneer Fund and the Daniels Fund are major, longstanding program supporters. 

 

 

Taussig, H.N. & Raviv, T. (in press). Foster care and child well-being: A promise whose time has come. In J. Korbin and R. Krugman (Eds.). Handbook of Child Maltreatment.
 
Taussig, H.N., Culhane, S.E., Garrido, E.F., Knudtson, M.D. & Petrenko, C.L.M. (in press). Does severity of physical neglect moderate the impact of an efficacious intervention for maltreated children in foster care? Child Maltreatment.
 
Perzow, S. E. D., Petrenko, C. L. M., Garrido, E. F., Combs, M.D., Culhane, S. E., & Taussig, H. N. (in press). Dissociative symptoms and academic functioning in maltreated children. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.
 
Hellyer, J., Garrido, E.F., Petrenko, C.L.M., & Taussig, H.N. (2013). Are maternal and community risk factors associated with the presence of asthma among children in foster care? Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 128-132.
 
Petrenko, C. L. M., Friend, A., Garrido, E. F., Taussig, H. N., & Culhane, S. E. (2012). Does subtype matter? Assessing the effects of maltreatment on functioning in preadolescent youth in out-of-home care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 36, 633-44.
 
Taussig, H.N., Culhane, S.E., Garrido, E., & Knudtson, M.D. (2012). RCT of a mentoring and skills group program: Placement and permanency outcomes for foster youth. Pediatrics, 130:e33-e39.
Taussig, H.N., & Clyman, R.B. (2011).  The relationship between time spent living with kin and adolescent functioning in youth with a history of out-of-home placement.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 78-86.
 
Garrido, E. F., Culhane, S. E., Petrenko, C. L. M., & Taussig, H. N. (2011). Psychosocial consequences of caregiver transitions for maltreated youth entering foster care: The moderating impact of community violence exposure. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81, 382-389.
 
Petrenko, C. L. M., Culhane, S. E., Garrido, E. F., & Taussig, H. N. (2011). Do youth in out-of-home care receive recommended mental health and educational services following screening evaluations?
Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1911-1918.
 
Garrido, E. F., Culhane, S. E., Petrenko, C. L. M., & Taussig, H. N. (2011). Psychosocial consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) exposure in maltreated adolescents: Assessing more than IPV occurrence. Journal of Family Violence, 26, 511-518.
 
Garrido, E. F., Taussig, H.N., Culhane, S. E., & Raviv, T. (2011). Attention problems mediate the association between physical abuse severity and aggressive behavior in a sample of maltreated early adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 31, 714-734.
 
Taussig, H.N., & Culhane, S.E. (2010). Emotional abuse and social functioning in a sample of preadolescent youth placed in out-of-home care. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 19, 52-74.
 
Taussig, H.N., & Culhane, S.E. (2010). Impact of a mentoring and skills group program on mental health outcomes for maltreated children in foster care. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 164, 739-746.
 
Raviv, T., Taussig, H.N., Culhane, S. E., & Garrido, E. F. (2010). Cumulative risk exposure and mental health functioning among maltreated youths placed in out-of-home care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34, 742-751.
 
Garrido, E. F., Culhane, S. E., Raviv, T., & Taussig, H.N. (2010). Does community violence exposure predict trauma symptoms in a sample of maltreated youth in foster care? Violence and Victims , 25, 756-770.
 
Taussig, H.N.,  Culhane, S.E., Raviv, T., Schnoll Fitzpatrick, L.E., & Wertheimer, R.W. (2010). Mentoring children in foster care: Impact on graduate student mentors. Educational Horizons, 89, 17-32.
 
Dunn, D.M., Culhane, S.E., & Taussig, H.N. (2010). Children’s appraisals of their experience in out-of-home care. Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 1324-1330.
 
Culhane, S. E., & Taussig, H. N. (2009). The structure of problem behavior in a sample of maltreated youth.  Social Work Research, 33,70-78.
 
MacMillan, H.L., Wathen, C.N., Barlow, J., Fergusson, D.M., Leventhal, J.M., & Taussig, H.N. (2009).  What works?  Interventions to prevent child maltreatment and associated impairment. The Lancet, 373, 250-266.
 
Taussig, H.N., Garrido, E., & Crawford, G. (2009). Use of a web-based data system in a clinical trial to obtain real-time information on children placed in out-of-home care. Social Work Research, 33, 55-60.
 
Shipman & Taussig, H.N. (2009). Treatment of child abuse and neglect: The promise of evidence-based practice. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 56, 417-428.
 
Taussig, H.N., Culhane, S.E., & Hettleman, D. (2007). Fostering Healthy Futures: An innovative preventive intervention for preadolescent youth in out-of-home care. Child Welfare, 86, 113-131.
 
Nickoletti, P.N., & Taussig, H.N. (2006).  Outcome expectancies and risk behaviors in maltreated adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 217-228.
 
Taussig, H.N., & Culhane, S.E.  (2005). Foster care as an intervention for abused and neglected children.  In K.A. Kendall-Tackett & S.M. Giacomoni (Eds.), Child victimization: Maltreatment, bullying and violence, prevention and intervention (pp. 20:1-20:25) . Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.
 
Taussig, H.N. (2002). Risk behaviors in maltreated youth placed in foster care: A longitudinal study of protective and vulnerability factors, Child Abuse & Neglect, 26, 1179-1199.
 
Taussig, H.N., Clyman, R.B., & Landsverk, J. (2001).  Children who return home from foster care: A six-year prospective study of behavioral health outcomes in adolescence. Pediatrics, 108, URL: http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/108/1/e10.
 
Taussig, H.N., & Talmi, A. (2001).  Ethnic differences in risk behaviors and related psychosocial variables among a cohort of maltreated adolescents in foster care.  Child Maltreatment, 6, 180-92.
 
Litrownik, A.J., Taussig, H.N., Landsverk, J.A., & Garland, A.F. (1999).  Youth entering an emergency shelter care facility:  Prior involvement in juvenile justice and mental health systems and their relationship to child welfare handling of the current episode. Journal of Social Service Research, 25, 5-19.  Co-published simultaneously in E.K. Proctor, N. Morrow-Howell, & A. Stiffman, (Eds.), Mental health services and sectors of care.  Haworth Press.
 
Taussig, H.N., & Litrownik, A.J. (1997). Methodological issues in classifying maltreatment: An examination of “protective issue” children.  In G.K. Kantor & J. Jasinski (Eds.), Out of the darkness: Contemporary research perspectives on family violence. Newbury Park: Sage.
 
Taussig, H.N., & Litrownik, A.J. (1997).  Self- and other-directed destructive behaviors: Assessment and relationship to type of abuse. Child Maltreatment, 2, 172-182.
 
Taussig, H.N. (1992).  Tasha.  Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, 8, 54-58.
The Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) faculty is dedicated to clinical, community, and research training that supports diverse practitioners and scientists in their work with vulnerable children and families. 
Our program offers clinical internships, research assistantships, post-doctoral research fellowships, and community-based trainings.
 
Clinical Internships
For over a decade, the Fostering Healthy Futures program has served as a field placement and practicum site for between 6 and 16 social work and psychology graduate interns a year.
 
For information on current internship opportunities, please contact our Training Coordinator,
Robyn Wertheimer, at robyn.wertheimer@childrenscolorado.org or 303-864-5240.
 
Research Assistantships
The Fostering Healthy Futures program offers volunteer and paid research assistant positions to graduate students in behavioral health fields.
 
For more information, please contact our Research Coordinator, Melody Combs, at melody.combs@childrenscolorado.org or 303-864-5379.
 
Post-doctoral Fellowships
Heather Taussig supervises postdoctoral fellows through both the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group and the Kempe Berger Fellowship.
 
For more information, please contact Heather Taussig at heather.taussig@childrenscolorado.org or
303-864-5216.
 
Community-Based Trainings
  • FHF faculty can provide program consultation and training on a range of topics including:
  • Program evaluation
  • Mentoring programming for high-risk youth
  • Multidisciplinary assessments for child welfare involved youth
  • Programming for child welfare involved youth
  • Positive Youth Development theory and programming
  • Clinical supervision in community-based interventions
For more information, please contact Heather Taussig at heather.taussig@childrenscolorado.org or
303-864-5216.