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Faculty Name

Heather Taussig, PhD

Last Name (not displayed)







DPRG Program Ombudsman

Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver

Associate Professor Program Director, Fostering Healthy Futures, Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect


​DU - Social Work

UCD - Pediatrics/Psychiatry

Description of Research

Dr. Taussig is a clinical psychologist and the Director of the Fostering Healthy Futures Program at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect within the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Taussig’s current research focuses on completing a multi-county efficacy trial of a novel intervention for preadolescent youth who have been maltreated and placed in out-of-home care (foster care, kinship care, residential treatment). The intervention consists of weekly therapeutic skills groups and one-on-one mentoring provided over a 9-month period (see Taussig, Culhane and Hettleman, 2007, for a thorough program description). Data are collected at baseline and at multiple post-intervention timepoints from interviews with youth, caregivers, and teachers and from record abstraction (including child welfare, school and juvenile justice records). The goals of the preventive intervention include augmenting prosocial development and outcomes (e.g. mental health functioning, social functioning, quality of life) and reducing problem behaviors (e.g. substance use, delinquent behavior, risky sexual activity). Dr. Taussig is also piloting a preventive intervention for teenagers who have been involved in the child welfare system as well as conducting long-term follow-up interviews with participants as they transition to adulthood.

Dr. Taussig has conducted longitudinal research on risk and protective factors, child welfare outcomes, and policy issues in this population. She is involved with several community organizations and served on the Governor’s Task Force on Foster Care and Permanence. She currently sits on the Biobehavioral and Behavioral Sciences Study Section at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The Fostering Healthy Futures project offers both research and clinical opportunities for postdoctoral fellows. Recent research in our lab focuses on estimating effect sizes from the RCT, examining potential moderating and mediating factors that may influence the efficacy of the RCT, identifying risk and protective factors for youth placed in out-of-home care, preventing aggression in this vulnerable population, and understanding the relationships between maltreatment experience, family characteristics, and youth functioning.



Treatment; Systems, Epidemiology and Outcomes

Clinical and special developmental populations

Adolescents; Child; Child Abuse; Foster Care


(Primary) University of Denver, 2148 High Street, Denver, CO 80208

Contact email

Faculty/Lab Website


Post-doctoral trainees

Christie Petrenko, PhD
Lindsey Weiler, PhD
Erin Hambrick, PhD

Institution and Research Topic

University of Denver

Randomized controlled efficacy trial of a preventive intervention for maltreated youth in out-of-home care

Mentor since



​University of Denver/ University of Colorado School of Medicine

Contact Number


Faculty Picture

Heather Taussig, PhD

DPRG Website

Taussig DPRG webpage

Department website

Taussig Department webpage


Created at 8/15/2012 3:05 PM by Greco-Sanders, Linda
Last modified at 5/10/2017 10:49 AM by Greco-Sanders, Linda