The Child and Family Research Partnership turned 5! We’re so thankful that our partners and supporters were able to celebrate with our team at our 5th Anniversary reception hosted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Our director and founder, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, answers 5 questions about CFRP for its 5 years:
How did the Child and Family Research Partnership begin?
The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) was launched in 2011 as a collaboration between me, as a professor at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, and the Child Support Division at the Texas Office of the Attorney General. At the same, I was working with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to evaluate the new statewide early childhood and parenting intervention program they were launching. I began building a team of staff and students to help me manage the work; over time, CFRP expanded and the group grew even bigger. We now have five umbrella areas of research – family supports, fatherhood, early childhood investments, child welfare, and adolescent health and wellbeing.
What does CFRP “do”?
Our expertise is in using large administrative data, combined with survey data that we field ourselves, and qualitative data that we garner through talking with those who are providing services, the recipients of the services, and the leadership responsible for implementing the program. In all our work, however, we keep focus on the larger questions our partners are trying to answer, like – How do you bring evidence-based home visiting programs to scale? How do you build a more stable and productive child welfare workforce? Does two years of pre-K better prepare little ones for Kindergarten than one year? How can the state more effectively serve fathers? What are the unique needs and service strategies for military and veteran families? How do we help teens make healthier life choices?
What makes CFRP different?
What I believe makes our evaluation work different than a consulting firm or a typical academic is that we strive to both advance the field of knowledge as well as work with key decision makers to answer the pressing social policy questions of our day. We feel responsible for answering not only whether a given program or decision is effective, but also why or why not. The word “Partnership” in the Child and Family Research Partnership name was also a very deliberate choice. We believe in working closely with the folks who are attempting to implement a program or make decisions, as well as with the folks they are trying to serve.
What has CFRP been doing in its first 5 years?
We have been busy! To date, we have worked with 22 clients, plus dozens of additional partners, on 37 projects. We’ve analyzed millions of people in administrative data, surveyed more than 20,000 Texans, and talked personally to thousands of people in focus groups and site visits. We have written 80 reports totaling over 3,600 pages and have given over 100 presentations to academics, stakeholders, and decision makers. CFRP is now the biggest research center, with the most full-time staff, at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and is the largest graduate student employer within the School.
What’s in the future for CFRP?
I have loved what we have been able to do and engage in for the past five years, and I look forward to our ongoing partnerships – and to making new partnerships in the years ahead. We’re fortunate that CFRP has become a key resource for policy and decision makers, and all signs point to more growth. No matter what, we will continue to serve the needs of children and families while doing the research and policy work we love.
See the photos from the CFRP 5th Anniversary Celebration.