Social Work Research Center adds new programs, staff

Bridging the gap between research and practice in social work, Colorado State University’s Social Work Research Center explores social work interventions in areas such as child maltreatment prevention and child well-being, while promoting data-driven decision-making and evidence-based policy.

Part of the School of Social Work, the Center provides research and program evaluation services to child welfare agencies, human services providers, governmental entities, and community groups. The team at the Social Work Research Center also collaborates with social work faculty and other interdisciplinary programs across the university on research and evaluation initiatives.

With the goals to conduct applied research and disseminate results on best practices to the child welfare field, the Social Work Research Center launched several new research and evaluation projects in 2019:

  • Innovate Colorado – (A Collaborative Law Enforcement and Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking): This statewide project’s vision is to prevent involvement with, and reduce the impact of, child/youth human trafficking by achieving full implementation of a comprehensive, collaborative, jurisdiction-wide approach to human trafficking and service delivery.
  • Wendy’s Wonderful Kids – This statewide project hires and trains recruiters in an evidence-based, child focused recruitment model to find permanent homes for children who have been in foster care the longest, including older youth, sibling groups, and children with special needs.
  • Kinship Navigator – Under the Family First Prevention Services Act, the Kinship Navigator Pilot builds on the capacities and lessons learned from Kinship Supports and Facilitated Family Engagement interventions, and other existing state and county kinship programs and community partnerships to better support kinship caregivers in Colorado.
  • Homeward 2020 Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) Study – This local impact project is designed to develop a demonstration pilot in Larimer County that uses multi-system administrative data to identify individuals who are homeless and criminal justice involved to receive supportive housing that spurs greater coordination/integration between the homeless, housing, criminal justice, and healthcare systems.

Earlier this year, the Social Work Research Center also welcomed three new staff members to contribute to these and other projects.

Lauren Alessi has a Masters in Sociology with a background in criminology and criminal justice. Her research interests include alternative justice programs, prison education, and services for youth in need. Lauren has been working in program evaluation since 2014, focusing on child welfare, criminal justice, intimate partner violence, and youth transitioning into adulthood. At the Social Work Research Center, Lauren will be supporting projects related to foster and kinship care, homelessness, human trafficking, and adoption.

Sue Tungate, Ph.D., has worked with the School of Social Work since 1994. Her current role with the SWRC is a welcome return to evaluation research. During her time at CSU, she has been involved with teaching, directing the field education program, human services systems change, and program evaluation with regional non-profit and government organizations, NIOSH Agricultural Centers, and CSU Extension. Tungate’s interests also include cross-system collaboration, and the contexts of poverty and social justice.

Courtney L. Everson, Ph.D., is an applied medical anthropologist with a long track record of community engagement, research, evaluation, and leadership in health and human services, non-profit management, and higher education. Everson is a mixed methodologist with specializations in infant, child, youth, and family development, well-being, and health; psychosocial stress and social support; health inequities; culturally safe care; collaborative care models; knowledge translation; and community-engaged scholarship. Everson is also the director of research education for the Midwives Alliance of North America’s division of research, a research working group member of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, and a strategic consultant to higher education entities, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations on issues of equity, complex systems evaluation, and anti-oppression.

About the School of Social Work

Founded in 1968, Colorado State University’s School of Social Work exists to advance social, environmental, and economic justice; promote equity and equality; alleviate oppression; and enhance human health and well-being across local and global community systems. The School of Social work is part of Colorado State University’s College of Health and Human Sciences.