Presented by Prof. Heather Taussig – Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, Adjunct Professor at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, USA, Visiting Fulbright Scholar, Cardiff University.

September 29, 2020

Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) is an innovative preventive intervention designed to promote prosocial development and reduce problem behaviours in youth who have been maltreated and are in foster, kinship or residential care. FHF is a positive youth development (PYD) program consisting of one-on-one mentoring and weekly skills training for 9 months. PYD programs reject the deficit approach and assume that young people have strengths and resources that can be fostered. For children living in out-of-home care, this PYD approach may be more accessible, acceptable and desirable, as traditional approaches tend to focus on ameliorating immediate problems as opposed to fostering long-term health and well-being. FHF has been tested in three rigorous randomized controlled trials and has demonstrated positive results on mental health problems, delinquency, service utilisation, and permanency. This presentation will include a discussion of: (1) the development of the preteen FHF program and a review of studied outcomes, (2) the rationale and development of a teen adaptation of FHF, (3) current implementation efforts, including program modifications made in the wake of COVID-19, and (4) plans for working at Cardiff University via the Fulbright fellowship.

Heather Taussig Biography

Heather Taussig, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, USA. Dr. Taussig’s research focuses on developing and testing prevention programming for maltreated children with child welfare involvement. She developed and directs the Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) program, an evidence-based mentoring program for children in foster care. FHF is being disseminated through community-based organizations and a teen adaptation is being tested in a randomized controlled trial that is nearing completion. Dr. Taussig completed a 10-year longitudinal study of youth with child welfare involvement and is working on a study of ecological factors leading to juvenile justice involvement for youth in foster care. Dr. Taussig serves on several review panels and community collaboratives as well as on the Research Board of the U.S. National Mentoring Resource Center. She is an awardee for her work on child abuse and neglect from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and a 2020 Fulbright Scholar.