Archive for the ‘osborne’ Category

Director Cynthia Osborne Provides Expert Testimony on Capitol Hill on Fathers in Home Visiting

April 13, 2017early childhood, fathers, home visiting, osborne

CynthiaOsborne_cropwebDr. Cynthia Osborne, Director of the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, provides expert testimony at a Congressional Briefing today in Washington, D.C. on the growing evidence of the importance of fathers in early childhood intervention home visiting programs. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program is being considered for re-authorization by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.

Home visiting programs have rapidly expanded across the country as an evidence-based policy choice for supporting families with young children. They provide structured visits by trained professionals and paraprofessionals to high-risk parents who are pregnant or have young children.

Fathers play a crucial role in child development, but historically, social programs aimed at poverty alleviation, health, and parenting have been geared almost exclusively toward mothers and children. For the last five years, Dr. Osborne has led the team at CFRP in conducting multiple evaluations of the MIECHV-funded Texas Home Visiting (THV) program, the largest program in the country, including two evaluations focused specifically on father involvement. Highlights of the findings:

  • Multiple barriers (e.g., work schedules) often prevent fathers from participating in home visits, but fathers engage with home visiting programs in other ways including attending other program activities, completing homework or practicing lessons with the mother and child, or asking mothers about the visit.
  • Fathers value home visiting programs and cite their child’s improved school readiness and health outcomes as being particularly important.
  • Program staff can be trained to increase father participation including specifically inviting fathers to visits and program events, and being flexible with the timing and location of home visits to accommodate fathers’ work schedules.
  • Father participation in home visiting programs is positively linked to family retention, which provides both parents increased opportunity to benefit from the program. Families in which fathers have participated in at least one home visit stay in the program over six months longer than families in which fathers never participate, controlling for family, program, and community factors.

The Child and Family Research Partnership is an independent, nonpartisan research center at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin which is dedicated to strengthening families and enhancing public policy through rigorous research. Click for more on CFRP’s Home Visiting and Fatherhood research.

Cynthia_Ways & Means_rectangle

To arrange an interview with Dr. Osborne, please contact Wendy Gonzales at or 512-471-8921.

Osborne Paper “Home Visiting Program: Four Evidence-Based Lessons for Policymakers”

February 8, 2017early childhood, home visiting, osborne

Federal and state policymakers and philanthropies are increasingly emphasizing the use of evidence to drive policy decisions. One of the areas in the forefront of evidence-based policymaking is early childhood intervention strategy, home visiting.

As lead evaluator of the Texas Home Visiting (THV) program, the largest home visiting program in the country, serving over 6,500 families in 13 diverse communities across the state, Dr. Osborne writes of the lessons learned and limits of “evidence-based” policymaking in Home Visiting Program: Four Evidence-Based Lessons for Policymakers.

Dr. Osborne and her paper are being recognized at the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ 2017 Innovation Bound annual celebration of the works of its distinguished faculty.

Dr. Cynthia Osborne is a policy professor at the The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs and the director of both the Center for Health and Social Policy and the Child and Family Research Partnership. She has extensive experience conducting long-term evaluations of state and national programs, with the aim of helping organizations understand what works and why, and how to ensure sustainable implementation of effective policies.

For more about our work on home visiting, go to


The full paper is available from the Behavioral Science & Policy Association


Home visiting programs (HVPs) aim to help low-income parents enhance their parenting skills and improve a host of early health and developmental outcomes for young children. Over the past five decades, numerous HVP models have been developed and implemented, albeit with modest or even null results, according to meta-analyses and comprehensive reviews. In 2010, in an effort to advance HVPs’ effectiveness, federal lawmakers vastly expanded funding for HVPs with certain caveats, one being the requirement that the majority of programs be evidence based. Although the new requirement is a policy win, this review presents four main areas that must be addressed and improved upon if this new funding effort is to maximize positive outcomes. Pointedly, HVPs should have built-in flexibility for states to match the specific or unique needs of a family to a program model that has demonstrated effectiveness in meeting those specific needs. Further, program developers should clearly demonstrate what it is specifically about their model that works, in what context, and for whom. Ultimately, not unlike personalized medicine, state policymakers should target delivery of the right HVP model to the right family at the right time.

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.

Newest Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage Data from the U.S. Census (2015)

September 14, 2016demographics, osborne

Social policy and health scholars wait nervously at the end of each summer for the Census Bureau to release its annual report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. This report is one of the most important national scorecards on our collective health and wellbeing.

Most of us breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the impressive gains in median income and declines in the proportion of us living in poverty and lacking health insurance in this newest release (2015). After years of stagnation, especially for those at the bottom end of the income distribution, incomes grew considerably. This growth occurred for all income levels and race and ethnic groups; in fact, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged among us saw the greatest gains – a fact to truly celebrate.

Despite these important gains, scholars here in the South continue to lament that our region trails the rest of the country. Whereas median household income grew 5.2% for the average household in the U.S., it grew only 2.9% for those of us living in the South. Our poverty rate is 15.3% compared to the national average of 13.5%, and in Texas, we have nearly double the rate of uninsured households (17.1%) than the rest of the country (9.1%).

State-level data will be released tomorrow, so we will have more detailed information on how Texas is doing compared to other Southern states and compared to the U.S. as a whole. But if history is a guide, the numbers will show we have a lot of work to do to live up to the goals we all have for our great state. More than 1 out of every 10 children in the U.S. is born in Texas; therefore, the wellbeing of our Texas children and families fuels the wellbeing of the whole nation. Our growth is not only important for a robust economy and society here in Texas, but it is vital for the health and wellbeing of the country as a whole.

Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D.

Director, Child and Family Research Partnership
Director, Center for Health and Social Policy
Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs


Evaluating the Impact of Pre-Kindergarten for 3 Year Olds

August 22, 2016early childhood, osborne, prek


Early childhood is a crucial period for healthy development. Children who experience a stimulating, lower-stress, and loving environment in their first five years typically have better social, cognitive, health, and economic outcomes throughout their lifespan. A key early indicator of future success is whether a child shows up to Kindergarten ready to learn; meaning by age five, the child has the necessary cognitive, developmental, and social-emotional skills that will allow the child to learn and reach her full potential. Unfortunately, children born to parents with lower levels of education or resources typically are less well prepared for school, and the gaps in outcomes that exist at school entry are mirrored throughout their schooling career and into adulthood.

A key policy lever to better prepare children, particularly disadvantaged children, for school is pre-Kindergarten (pre-K). Although the results are mixed, the research generally suggests that children who experience high-quality, center-based pre-K are better prepared for school than their counterparts who do not have pre-K. Several states have adopted universal or widespread public pre-K, in response to this evidence.


Austin Independent School District (AISD) is one of the first large school districts in the nation to push further and offer public pre-K to 3-year-olds (PK3). The hope is that two years of high-quality preK will better prepare students for Kindergarten than only one.

CFRP, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, CFRP director and Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, are evaluating the impact of the PK3 program for AISD.

The partnership will launch the first evaluation in the nation that will determine whether children who experience two years of public pre-K (at ages 3 and 4) are better prepared for Kindergarten than their counterparts who experience pre-K only at age 4.


Related Publications and Posts:

Title Type Date
What Do We Know About Pre-K? Brief 2015 October
Pre-K is Good for Kids and For Texas: Short-term Savings from Pre-K Estimated at Nearly $142 Million Annually Brief 2015 April
Early Lessons Learned from Building Local Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems in Texas (Journal of Applied Research on Children) Journal Volume 5 Issue 1 (2014)
Early Childhood Education is Linked to Greater Success in School News Post 2013 May
Full listing of CFRP Early Childhood publications Various Various







CFRP at the 2015 APPAM Fall Research Conference

November 10, 2015cfrp, fathers, home visiting, osborne

appam2.fwThe APPAM Fall Research Conference is the main conference of the year for scholars from around the world and is this week in Miami. Attendees convene to both present and learn about the most current research on policy and management issues from 14 different policy areas. This year’s conference program is centered around the theme, “The Golden Age of Evidence-Based Policy.”

CFRP director Cynthia Osborne will be presenting her papers throughout the conference as well as participating in events as an elected member of the APPAM Policy Council:

Panel 11/12/15 – How Can We Expand Home Visiting to Engage Dads? Strategies, Enhancements, and Early Program Impacts (8:30am, Merrick I)

  • Panel Paper – Engaging Fathers: Expanding the Scope of Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs (Anna Lipton Galbraith, Cynthia Osborne, Jennifer Winter Craver and Ruy Manrique-Betanzos)

Panel 11/12/15 – Designing Evaluations to Strengthen Policy and Practice: Current Research on Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs (10:15 am, Merrick I)

  • Panel Paper – Challenges of Serving and Retaining High-Risk Families in Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs (Cynthia Osborne and Allison C. Dubin)

Panel 11/14/15 - Father Involvement: Trends, Implications, and Opportunities (8:30am, Merrick I)

  • Panel Paper – Exploring the Role of Fathers’ Birth Presence in Mothers’ Mental Health Outcomes (Daniel Dillon, Cynthia Osborne, and Holly Sexton)


Click for detailed conference schedule.

Follow the conference and CFRP on Twitter at #2015APPAM.


Director Cynthia Osborne Talks About Her Chapter at Book Launch

October 23, 2015cfrp, osborne

LBJ’s Neglected Legacy: How Lyndon Johnson Reshaped Domestic Policy and Government

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars with the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin and the LBJ Washington Center

October 23, 2015


The LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Dean Robert Wilson and CFRP and CHASP Director Cynthia Osborne are in DC today at the launch event of new book, “LBJ’s Neglected Legacy: How Lyndon Johnson Researched Domestic Policy and Government.”

Dr. Osborne’s chapter “LBJ’s Legacy in Contemporary Social Welfare Policy: Have We Come Full Circle?” discusses how social welfare policies of today were seeded by LBJ in his War on Poverty and what lessons we can learn to meet the social challenges of the next 50 years.



(Photos: LBJ Washington Center)

CFRP Director Cynthia Osborne Named Director of LBJ’s Center for Health and Social Policy

September 18, 2015cfrp, osborne

CHASP logo sm.fwOne of the country’s foremost child and family policy researchers, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Associate Professor and director of the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named director of the LBJ School’s Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP). Former director, Professor Carolyn Heinrich, University of Vanderbilt, will continue her affiliation with CHASP as a Research Professor.

“I am very pleased that Cynthia is taking on the leadership of CHASP,” said LBJ School interim dean Robert Wilson. “A dynamic and innovative scholar and teacher, Dr. Osborne will enhance a rapidly expanding research agenda within CHASP, applying innovative social science based research to evaluate social programs.”


“I’m delighted to be the new director of CHASP,” said Osborne. “I look forward to continuing my work with my colleagues as we aim to answer the pressing social policy questions of our day and improve the well being of the poor and vulnerable through effective policy research. Our collective goal is to be a resource to decision makers, an anchor to students and alumni, a convener of experts, and a megaphone for the important research conducted by our tremendous students and faculty research associates.”

Dr. Osborne specializes in policies regarding strengthening families, fatherhood, early childhood interventions, child welfare, and adolescent health under her research group, CFRP. She is the Primary Investigator on numerous program evaluations, including the long-term evaluation project of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Home Visiting Program. She also directed the Project on Education Effectiveness and Quality (PEEQ), a statewide project for the Texas Education Agency.

Dr. Osborne currently serves as Chair of the Responsible Fatherhood working group for the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, a long-term project of the federal Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. She oversees The University of Texas at Austin’s institutional membership of the University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium. She also serves on the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Policy Council, the leadership team responsible for setting policy and strategy for the association.

Click for the full announcement for more about Dr. Osborne and the CHASP faculty research associates.


HUD Secretary Julián Castro at The LBJ School: #HUDat50 #LBJHUD50

September 10, 2015cfrp, events, osborne

The LBJ School of Public Affairs was honored to host HUD Secretary Julián Castro yesterday as he commemorated (to the day) the 50th Anniversary of the creation of HUD by President Johnson. CFRP Director Cynthia Osborne met Secretary Castro after his inspirational address, and our own Graduate Research Assistant Jose Vazquez (red and blue shirt) was selected to participate in a small student discussion. If you missed Secretary Castro’s talk, you can see it now at…

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Secretary Julián Castro giving his address


Angela Evans, Sherri Greenburg, CFRP Director Cynthia Osborne, Secretary Julián Castro, David Springer



Secretary Julián Castro and LBJ School Dean Bob Wilson


Angela Evans and Secretary Julián Castro with group of LBJ Students


4/28/15 Event at the Capitol: A Bold New Agenda by the Next Generation of Leaders

April 22, 2015events, lbj, osborne

The Honorable Sen. Rodney Ellis is hosting “Ensuring Sustainable Employment – A Bold New Agenda,” a presentation by LBJ graduate students at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday, April 28 at 12:15 p.m. in Legislative Conference Room E2.002A. The students are in CFRP Director Dr. Cynthia Osborne‘s Policy Research Project (PRP) class and will share their yearlong research on specific policy objectives of the “new war on poverty” and unveil bold ideas for increasing sustainable employment among Texans and Americans.

We hope you can join us for this exciting kick-off of a bold new agenda by the next generation of leaders! Lunch will be provided.

For more about the PRP, including videos, please go to 2014-2015 Policy Research Project.





Event info:

Ensuring Sustainable Employment – A Bold New Agenda at The Texas State Capitol

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 | 12:15pm – 2:00pm
Texas State Capitol | Legislative Conference Room E2.002A

Lunch will be provided.

Enter through Capitol then take the north with elevators to Level E2. Proceed through the circular Seal Court and the Legislative Conference Center will be the first door on the right.

Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th Streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $8.00); accessible parking is available with accessible routes to the Capitol. Metered spaces are available throughout the complex.



CFRP in the News: FiveThirtyEight and NPR

March 2, 2015cfrp, child_support, osborne

Are Moms Less Likely than Dads to Pay Child Support? 

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight’s Mona Chalibi asks this interesting question and has a surprising answer. CFRP Director, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, was asked to help explain. The story was also produced as a radio segment on NPR that aired yesterday, March 1st. See below for links.

Dr. Osborne is director of the Child and Family Research Partnership at The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and studies poverty and inequality, family and child well-being, and family demography. She has extensive experience in long-term evaluations of state and national programs and related issues, including child supporthome visiting, and father participation.



Click here or below for the full story.

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Click here or below to listen to the story aired March 1, 2015.

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Save the Date 4/16/15: CFRP Symposium on Evidence-Based Policy and Its Limits

January 16, 2015cfrp, osborne

CFRP Symposium on Evidence-Based Policy and Its Limits 

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Ron Haskins
Thursday, April 16, 2015, 9:00am-12:30pm
LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin

What is evidence-based policy, and is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Find out at CFRP’s half-day symposium on Thursday, April 16th at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. We are privileged to have Dr. Ron Haskins as the keynote speaker. Dr. Haskins is Co-Director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, former Senior Advisor to the President for welfare policy at the White House, and co-author of the popular new book, Show Me the Evidence: Obama’s Fight for Rigor and Results in Social Policy.

Dr. Haskins will provide invaluable insights about what it means to use evidence-based policy on the federal level, as well as sign copies of his new book. LBJ faculty, including CFRP Director, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, will discuss the successes and challenges of recent evaluations of evidence-based programs and the implications for state policymakers. The symposium will also include a panel of leaders who will provide different perspectives on what evidence-based policy means for their roles as: lawmaker, administrator, implementer, and philanthropist.

Registration will open in February – save the date!

Event page