Archive for the ‘cfrp’ Category

Welcome to New Staff and Student Researchers

June 20, 2017cfrp

CFRP is growing! We are pleased to announce that we have added two new full-time research associates to our data team: Kelli Mowdy and Daniel Tihanyi. We are also grateful to have the support of several new graduate research assistants: Selena Caldera, Marilyn Headley, Kathy Hill, Abby Lane, John Meyer Williams, and Sonia Pace. Learn more about our team.

new teammates_jun 2017

Would you like to receive notifications about future opportunities to join the Child and Family Research Partnership? Sign up for our Careers email list.

What We’re Reading This Summer 2017

June 1, 2017cfrp

With the arrival of summer comes the 2017 CFRP summer reading list! Featuring both fiction and non-fiction — with topics spanning from the Civil War to urbanism, from foster care to equality — below are some favorite titles from our faculty and staff for this summer. Enjoy!

three thinking beyond
undeserving color between
george feminists underground
hillbilly originals urban

More about the books:

  • Three Little Words: A Memoir Paperback by Ashley Rhodes-Courter – An inspiring true story of the tumultuous nine years Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent in the foster care system, and how she triumphed over painful memories and real-life horrors to ultimately find her own voice. “Sunshine, you’re my baby and I’m your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she’s not your mama.” Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system. Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative, humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed – and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice. – summer pick by Cynthia Osborne, Director
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. – summer pick by Daniel Tihanyi, Research Associate
  • Beyond the Homestretch: What Saving Racehorses Taught Me About Starting Over, Facing Fear, and Finding My Inner Cowgirl by Lynn Reardon – After learning to ride horses as an adult, Lynn Reardon quit her office job in Washington DC and moved to rural Texas to open the racehorse adoption ranch LOPE (LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers). Since then, LOPE has helped transition more than 750 thoroughbreds into new homes. In this riveting account, Reardon encounters dozens of unruly racehorses, all with special needs, unusual histories, and distinct personalities. She takes readers for a thrilling ride through the horse-racing world filled with offbeat horse people, colorful Texas culture clashes, veterinary melodramas, and surprising life lessons. Reardon may have saved these horses’ lives, but they saved hers as well. – summer pick by Kristyne Blackburn, Finance, Grants, and HR Director
  • The Undeserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty by Michael B. Katz – First published in 1989, The Undeserving Poor was a critically acclaimed and enormously influential account of America’s enduring debate about poverty. Taking stock of the last quarter century, Michael B. Katz’s new edition of this classic is virtually a new book. Katz highlights how throughout American history, the poor have been regarded as undeserving: people who do not deserve sympathy because they brought their poverty on themselves, either through laziness and immorality, or because they are culturally or mentally deficient. This long-dominant view sees poverty as a personal failure, serving to justify America’s mean-spirited treatment of the poor. Katz reminds us, however, that there are other explanations of poverty besides personal failure. Poverty has been written about as a problem of place, of resources, of political economy, of power, and of market failure. Katz looks at each idea in turn, showing how they suggest more effective approaches to our struggle against poverty. – summer pick by Andrea Michelsen, Research Associate
  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein – In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as “brilliant” (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north. – summer pick by Erin Wu, Research Associate
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society. From his passionate and deliberate breakdown of the concept of race itself to the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, Coates powerfully sums up the terrible history of the subjugation of black people in the United States. A timely work, this title will resonate with all teens–those who have experienced racism as well as those who have followed the recent news coverage on violence against people of color. – summer pick by Allison Dubin, Research Associate
  • George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger – When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have offered fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman. Long unrecognized, the secret six are finally receiving their due among the pantheon of American heroes. – summer pick by Michelle Gutierrez, Research Assistant
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller—a personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah. Here she offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. – summer pick by both Lauren Cenac, Research Associate & Rebecca Shirsat, Research Assistant
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share. – summer pick by Anna Lipton Galbraith, Senior Research Associate
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance – From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country. – summer pick by Kaeley Benson, Senior Policy Associate
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant – Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo. – summer pick by Wendy Gonzales, Communications Director
  • The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida - In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. And yet all is not well, Richard Florida argues in The New Urban Crisis. Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement in his groundbreaking The Rise of the Creative Class, demonstrates how the same forces that power the growth of the world’s superstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality. A bracingly original work of research and analysis, The New Urban Crisis offers a compelling diagnosis of our economic ills and a bold prescription for more inclusive cities capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all. – summer pick by Vicky Pridgen, Outreach Program Coordinator

2017 Texas Fatherhood Summit

April 12, 2017cfrp, events, fathers


The second annual Texas Fatherhood Summit: Strengthening Services to Support Fathers hosted by the Child and Family Research Partnership at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Texas DFPS Prevention and Early Intervention Division was held on March 24, 2017. The event was held as part of CFRP’s partnership with the state to develop a comprehensive approach to supporting fathers and strengthening Texas families.

The 2017 Texas Fatherhood Summit brought together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of fatherhood from all over the state and country. The theme of this year’s Summit was “Strengthening Services to Support Fathers.” Speakers discussed the challenges and opportunities in recruiting, providing services, and retaining fathers in programs. CFRP shared what the research shows on how to know if programs are really working, and providers shared lessons learned as they support Texas dads.




Partnerships for Children breaks record fulfilling Holiday Wishes

December 19, 2016cfrp

Partnerships for Children’s Holiday Wishes program helps to create holiday memories for children served by CPS. Each child is able to submit three wishes that are then fulfilled through donations and sponsorships. In 2015, the program provided gifts to over 4700 children throughout Central Texas, and this year Partnerships for Children will surpass that number.


“This year we are breaking our records and we’re actually going to end up at about 4800 kids,” said Marcus Cantu, Business Manager for Partnerships for Children, in an interview with Spectrum News Austin last week.

With over 12,000 gifts in the warehouse, Partnerships for Children could not run this program without the help of community volunteers. From sorting and tagging gifts, to wrapping and shopping for them, the Holiday Wishes program offers many different opportunities and ways for volunteers to get involved.

This December, CFRP organized a department-wide toy and gift donation drive at the LBJ School of Public Affairs to benefit the children served by the Holiday Wishes program. LBJ students, staff, and faculty participated in the drive and last Tuesday a group from CFRP dropped off the donations and spent the afternoon volunteering to help sort and wrap gifts in the warehouse where we were truly humbled by our experience.


Partnerships for Children shared yesterday that it is “truly humbled by the vast amount of community support we received this year. We have provided three gifts to 4,800 children in Central Texas, and that number is growing with children coming into care over the next couple of weeks.”

For more information, visit Partnerships for Children’s website.

UPDATE: January 24, 2017: Partnerships for Children announced that they were able to provide three gifts to a total of 5,015 children in Central Texas.

Media coverage:

Spectrum News Austin: Volunteers Making Kids’ Holiday Wishes Come True

CFRP Celebrates 5th Anniversary – 5 Questions for 5 Years from Director Dr. Osborne

October 28, 2016cfrp, osborne





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.

CFRP GRA Cassie Gianni Receives 2016 Spirit of LBJ Award

August 29, 2016cfrp, lbj


Congratulations to CFRP graduate research assistant, Cassie Gianni, on receiving the 2016 Spirit of LBJ Award! The award was presented at the LBJ School’s Birthday Bash celebrating President Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday on Saturday, August 27, 2016.

The Spirit of LBJ Award is awarded by the Austin Alumni Chapter for second year students who are exemplars of their cohort in areas of leadership, commitment to the LBL School, and the Austin community. Recipients must also exhibit a strong sense of ethics and integrity.

Cassie embodies all these characteristics both as a student and as a member of the CFRP research team. At CFRP, Cassie supports several child welfare research projects, including how the state of Texas is transforming its Child Protective Services (CPS) workforce and how outcomes for children involved in the CPS system can be improved through increased collaboration among agencies and increased effectiveness of volunteer advocates.

“We’re so fortunate to work with Cassie – we get to benefit from her professional skills and her positive attitude and thoughtfulness. She’s a wonderful representative of the ideals of the LBJ School and the student body. We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes after her time here at LBJ,” said Dr. Cynthia Osborne, LBJ professor and director of CFRP.

Cassie Gianni is a Master of Global Policy Studies candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She earned her B.A. in Economics from the University of Houston. As an undergrad, she focused her community service on economic empowerment, cultural exchange, and LGBTQA+ rights.


We’re Hiring! Two Staff Research Associate Positions

August 9, 2016cfrp

We continue to grow and currently have two full-time staff research positions open, one specializing in data analysis and management and the other policy writing.

We’re looking for skilled professionals who are passionate about making a difference at the policy level through academic research. CFRP is also a fantastic, busy place to hone and grow your skills – and you get to be a Longhorn!

Applications for staff positions must be submitted through The University of Texas at Austin’s job portal, links below.

Current job opportunities can always be found on our Careers webpage.

Please forward to your colleagues and friends!


Research Associate (Data Team)

Posting Number: 16-08-04-01-4007
Social Science and Humanities Research Associate III

This research associate will be an integral part of the data team and assist with database architecture, cleaning up data, and rigorous data analysis. Need to be able to: interpret data and analyze results using statistical techniques; develop and implement data collection systems and other strategies that optimize statistical efficiency and data quality; identify, analyze, and interpret trends or patterns in complex data sets; filter and “clean” data, and review computer reports, printouts, and performance indicators to locate and correct code problems. Researcher will work closely with leadership and project team members. Full post.

Research Associate

Posting Number: 16-08-04-02-4007
Social Science and Humanities Research Associate III

This research associate will produce in-depth written content, including journal articles, formal reports, research briefs, and blogs for an academic, policy, and public audience. Researcher will also manage project deadlines, deliverables, and client communications. Need to be able to: conceptualize and outline story arcs, organize statistical findings into a coherent narrative, and understand and translate complex statistical concepts to a lay audience; produce tables, charts, and graphs to assist in data analysis; demonstrate the ability to conduct analyses in Stata; have excellent oral and written communication skills. Full post.



New Facebook Changes: Do This to See All of CFRP’s Posts

July 1, 2016cfrp

Facebook continues to tweek its algorithm, determined to show more of what people “want.” They also continue to move towards showing more Friends and Family posts vs. Pages (businesses, organizations, etc.), like the Child and Family Research Partnership. This is despite the fact that people deliberately choose to like Pages as part of the Facebook experience so they can…actually see their posts. Why is Facebook doing this? You can find all the nitty gritty here, but really it’s because they want Pages to pay for advertising instead of getting the free exposure that we’re all used to.

Regardless of why Facebook is making changes or how you may feel about it, below is how to see all or more posts from Pages than the newest default allows.

1. On a Page you like, click on the “Liked” button and click on “See First.” To get notifications of Page posts (like for Close Friends), click on the edit pencil next to “In Your News Feed.” 



2. Click on “Notifications” on the left – choose “All Posts” or whatever items you want notifications for and then “Done.”



Follow us on Facebook at!

-Wendy Gonzales, CFRP Operations and Communications Director


Summer 2016: New Team Members

July 1, 2016cfrp



Welcome to our new team members as of this summer!

Jennifer Huffman, one of our standout Graduate Research Assistants, has now come on board as a staff researcher. We’re excited to have her in this expanded role at CFRP.

We also are pleased to have these amazing new students on our ever growing research and data teams: David Mitnick; Caitlin Shea; Melissa Stelter; Kara Takasaki, MA; and Pablo Varas Valenzuela, MSc.

Click for more about the CFRP team.


What We’re Reading This Summer

June 7, 2016cfrp

So many books, so little time

Summer has arrived…and so has the CFRP summer reading list! Below are some of the books our faculty and staff are reading this summer – again some lighter fare, some not so much. Our team is growing too, so now there are even more to inspire you.

JustMercy PathologiesToPower InvisibleInAustin
AllSingleLadies WhiteTrash BrainRules
VoiceInHeart Scarcity GoSetWatchman
Evicted June SmartEnoughAnimals


More about the books:

  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson - Stevenson was a young lawyer dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case transformed Bryan’s understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. – summer pick by Anna Lipton Galbraith, Senior Research Associate
  • Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul FarmerPathologies of Power uses harrowing stories of life—and death—in extreme situations to interrogate our understanding of human rights. Farmer, a physician and anthropologist with twenty years of experience working in Haiti, Peru, and Russia, argues that promoting the social and economic rights of the world’s poor is the most important human rights struggle of our times. With passionate eyewitness accounts, this book links the lived experiences of individual victims to a broader analysis of structural violence. Farmer challenges conventional thinking within human rights circles and exposes the relationships between political and economic injustice, on one hand, and the suffering and illness of the powerless, on the other. – summer pick by Ally DeGraff, Research Analyst
  • Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City by Javier Auyero – Austin, Texas, is renowned as a high-tech, fast-growing city for the young and creative, a cool place to live, and the scene of internationally famous events such as SXSW and Formula 1. But as in many American cities, poverty and penury are booming along with wealth and material abundance in contemporary Austin. Rich and poor residents lead increasingly separate lives as growing socioeconomic inequality underscores residential, class, racial, and ethnic segregation. Sociologist Javier Auyero explores the lives of those working at the bottom of the social order and with Invisible in Austin, makes visible the growing gap between rich and poor that is reconfiguring the cityscape of one of America’s most dynamic places. – summer pick by Ruy Manrique-Betanzos, Research Associate
  • All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister - When journalist Traister started All the Single Ladies in 2009, it was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50%; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between 21 and 22 years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to 27. Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. All the Single Ladies is a portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. – summer pick by Sydney Briggs, Research Associate
  • White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenburg - Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Marginalized as a class, poor whites have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity. We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well. – summer pick by Jennifer Huffman, Research Associate
  • Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina – What’s the single most important thing you can do during pregnancy? What does watching TV do to a child’s brain? What’s the best way to handle temper tantrums? Scientists know. Dr. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five. One of the surprises: The best way to get your children into the college of their choice? Teach them impulse control. Brain Rules for Baby bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice. – summer pick by Allison Dubin, Research Associate
  • This Voice in My Heart: A Runner’s Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness by Gilbert Tuhabonye - 17 years ago, Gilbert Tuhabonye lay buried under a pile of burning bodies. The centuries–old battle between Hutu and Tutsi tribes had come to Gilbert’s school in Burundi. Fueled by hatred, the Hutus forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a small room and used machetes to beat most of them to death. The unfortunate ones who survived the beating were doused with gasoline and set on fire. Gilbert hid under the burning bodies for over eight hours, escaped, and was the lone survivor of the genocide. The road has been a tough one, but Gilbert used his survival instincts to spur him on to the goal of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. Today, having forgiven his enemies and moved forward with his life, he is a world–class athlete, running coach and celebrity in his new hometown of Austin, Texas. – summer pick by Wendy Gonzales, Operations and Communications Director
  • Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir - Why does poverty persist? Why do organizations get stuck firefighting? Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends? These questions seem unconnected, yet Mullainathan and Shafir show that they are all are examples of a mindset produced by scarcity. Drawing on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics, Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need. Busy people fail to manage their time efficiently for the same reasons the poor and those maxed out on credit cards fail to manage their money. The dynamics of scarcity reveal why dieters find it hard to resist temptation, why students and busy executives mismanage their time, and why sugarcane farmers are smarter after harvest than before. Once we start thinking in terms of scarcity and the strategies it imposes, the problems of modern life come into sharper focus. – summer pick by Cynthia Osborne, Director
  • Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee - From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama. 26 year old Jean Louise Finch, “Scout,” returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Go Set a Watchman captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one’s own conscience. – summer pick by Kristyne Blackburn, Finance, Grants, and HR Director
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmondínez - Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. – summer pick by Nicole Vinton, Program Coordinator
  • To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam - Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is To the End of June, a portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children in their search for a stable, loving family. Beam shows us the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the rootless shuffling between homes, the emotionally charged tug between foster and birth parents, the terrifying push out of foster care and into adulthood. – summer pick by Kaeley Bobbitt, Senior Policy Associate
  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?  by Frans de Waal – What separates your mind from an animal’s? People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence by offering a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. – summer pick by Jennifer Huffman, Research Associate


The Moms of CFRP 2016

May 6, 2016cfrp, mothers

We, those of us with older kids anyway, joke around here that the one thing we really want for Mother’s Day is to get a break from being a mom. Our newest moms however don’t have that feeling yet so we wanted to bask in their joy of the newness of parenthood. We’ve been fortunate to have several new and soon-to-be additions to the CFRP family, and we wanted to share the happy news as we celebrate Mother’s Day this year. To all the moms out there, happy Mother’s Day from CFRP! We hope you do get a break and find some time to recharge your mom batteries.

Arthur René Warden
(aka Artie)

Born: May 2, 2016 (4 days old!!)

New mom and CFRP research analyst Nora Ankrum got a surprise this week when Artie decided to show up a month earlier than expected, but both are doing great! At 20.5 inches at 35 weeks, Artie already has basketball plans in his future according to Nora’s husband.


Samuel William Dubin
(aka Sam)

Born: December 23, 2015

Allison Dubin, CFRP research associate, and her husband got the best Christmas gift of all – Sam! At four months, Sam has acquired the skill of waking up in the middle of the night ready to play with mom and dad, which is just what Allison needed having returned from maternity leave. But Allison now also knows the joys of getting baby cuddles after a busy day at the office.


Baby Gerber

Due: August 5, 2016

Abby Lane, CFRP research assistant and LBJ School of Public Affairs doctoral candidate, gets to enjoy the pleasures of being pregnant during our awesome Texas summers. During her last trimester (in air conditioning), Abby strives to get much of her dissertation proposal completed before Baby Gerber arrives. She and her husband are currently enjoying each baby kick, which are getting stronger and stronger!


CFRP Welcomes New Staff and Students

February 25, 2016cfrp


With the growth in our work has been an expansion of the CFRP family!

Welcome to new staffers Sydney Briggs, Research Associate; Ally DeGraff, Research Analyst; and Nicole Vinton, Program Coordinator.

We also are pleased to have new students join the research team: Gina Hinojosa, Senior Student Associate; and Graduate Research Assistants Kimberly Bernsen, Jon Brandt, Andrew Corcoran, and Jennifer Huffman. Click for more about the CFRP team.

Click for more about the CFRP team.

New Award: Project S.A.F.E. (Survivors are Fundamental to the Equation)

February 19, 2016cfrp, child welfare, family instability

CHILD WELFARE | Family Safety

  • Grant: Project S.A.F.E. (Survivors are Fundamental to the Equation)
  • Sponsor: Texas Council on Family Violence

In response to increasing awareness of the overlap between domestic violence and child maltreatment populations and services, the Texas Office of the Governor created the initiative Project S.A.F.E, overseen by the Texas Council on Family Violence. Project S.A.F.E. (Survivors are Fundamental to the Equation) is focused on improving collaboration between child welfare agencies and family violence centers in Texas to improve family safety.

Project S.A.F.E. domestic violence centers in Austin, Denton, El Paso, and the Rio Grande Valley are implementing pilot programs* focused on promoting child safety through enhancing competency, practice, and collaboration around domestic violence among Child Protective Services (CPS) staff and domestic violence program staff. CFRP’s research will help establish best practices and models for domestic violence centers across Texas to navigate the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment.

*Denton County Friends of the Family, Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, SafePlace-Travis County, and Women Together Foundation with Family Crisis Center and Friendship of Women, Inc.


New Award: Supporting Vulnerable Military Children and Families in Texas

February 12, 2016cfrp, child welfare, military

FAMILY SUPPORTS | Military Families

  • Grant: Supporting Vulnerable Military Children and Families in Texas
  • Sponsor: DFPS Prevention and Early Intervention

Active duty military and veterans face unique challenges and stressors, which determine what supports they need, especially in regards to child abuse and neglect. The state of Texas has the second highest active duty military population and the second highest number of veterans of any state in the country.

Under House Bill 19, the Texas 84th Legislature tasked the Texas Department of Family Protective Services to develop and implement a prevention program to support Texas military and veteran families in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect. CFRP will be assisting the department’s Prevention and Early Intervention division to determine the effectiveness of the efforts to serve these vulnerable military families. CFRP will study how the program communities are successfully supporting military families and the challenges they face.


New Award: Effectiveness of Fatherhood Programs in Texas

February 10, 2016cfrp, fathers

FATHER INVOLVEMENT | Responsible Fatherhood

  • Grant: Effectiveness of Fatherhood Programs in Texas
  • Sponsor: DFPS Prevention and Early Intervention

Fatherhood programs have evolved since the 1990s from focusing on a father’s financial support role to a more balanced approach that emphasizes healthy relationships, parenting skills, and involvement. State and federal funding for these programs now number in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year, however few fatherhood programs have undergone rigorous evaluation. As a result, policymakers and program administrators have a limited understanding of their effectiveness.

Recognizing this gap in knowledge, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, Prevention and Early Intervention Division asked CFRP to develop a comprehensive approach to supporting fathers in Texas. CFRP will be assessing the state and evidence base for fatherhood programs in Texas and the country. See CFRP’s newest fatherhood report laying the groundwork: Making Good on Fatherhood: A Review of the Fatherhood Research (PDF).

More: CFRP’s fatherhood research | Resources from 2016 Texas Fatherhood Summit