Prior Projects

Criminal Justice Commission-Funded Reentry Evaluation

Principal Investigator: Michael R. McCart, PhD

Reentry programs are designed to facilitate an offender’s release from prison and successful integration back into the community. Previous research has found positive outcomes with reentry programs but has not yet established a clear set of best practices. This 1-year study evaluated the reentry programs in Washington and Linn Counties—specifically, to address whether participation in reentry services decreases recidivism following prison release. These services include assessment and case planning by a reentry specialist prior to release from prison; a professional mentor who provides emotional and instrumental support before and after prison release; and a range of post-release supportive services, including 1) enhanced supervision from a Community Corrections officer, 2) comprehensive substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, and 3) access to short-term housing services (as needed). The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) provided the funds for ODI Investigators (Drs. McCart, Sheidow, and Chapman) to conduct this reentry evaluation.

Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of Reentry Programs in Washington and Linn Counties - Final Report

Training Support System for Contingency Management

This ground-breaking project was funded by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative. The project connected community-based therapists with advanced training in a scientifically-certified treatment and provided ongoing expert feedback and support to address adolescent substance abuse. Contingency Management (CM), a treatment designed to help families eliminate their teens' drug and alcohol use, and proven effective in controlled studies, was tailored to fit the needs of therapists working in all types of public settings. The team working on this SBIR developed training and support processes that were delivered via an easily accessible and cost-effective web-based Training Support System (TSS). These innovative teaching strategies encouraged treatment fidelity and enhanced the likelihood of its success by merging scientific advancement with real-world practice. In an earlier phase of the project, the team produced a version of the Training Support System which is ready for commercial use. The last phase of the project studied the effectiveness of the TSS with therapists operating in community-based agencies all over the United States working in outpatient and justice office settings.

The Child Study - FOTC

Principal Investigator: J. Mark Eddy, PhD

This was a longitudinal study of 256 children from four cities in the U.S.: Boston, New York, Portland (OR), and Seattle. The study was conducted in collaboration with five independent Friends of the Children non-profit chapters, and was approved by the school districts in each chapter city as well as the OSLC Institutional Review Board. The study received a Certificate of Confidentiality by the National Institutes of Health. Friends of the Children is a long-term youth mentoring program that partners with local school districts to identify children who are considered most appropriate for their program. The program was founded by Duncan Campbell in Portland in 1993 and now serves over 300 children in that city. During the study, children were identified by staff members from schools and their partner Friends of the Children chapter; randomly assigned to either Friends of the Children or to a services-as-usual condition; and invited by school staff to discuss the study with OSLC staff. Interested families were then contacted by OSLC, introduced to the study, and invited to participate. The study either maintained or increased the number of children in each city who receive services from their local Friends of the Children chapter. Once participating in the study, parents/caregivers and children were invited to participate in regular interviews about child adjustment and development during elementary school.

Kids in Transition to School (KITS) - Baltimore

Principal Investigator: Katherine Pears, PhD

KITS is a preventive intervention designed to increase critical school readiness skills in children transitioning into kindergarten who are at risk for school failure. The KITS program has been tested with children in foster care, children with co-occurring developmental disabilities and behavior problems, and children in high poverty neighborhoods. Children’s early literacy, social and self-regulatory skills are developed through participation in a therapeutic playgroup. Children are taught critical school readiness skills and given multiple opportunities to practice those skills in a classroom environment. Parents also attend workshops where they learn strategies to support their child’s skill development and a smooth transition to kindergarten. KITS – Coleridge-Taylor, Baltimore was the first contract for a community-based implementation of KITS. Children participating in the KITS program were incoming kindergartners to the Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School. The Baltimore-based clinical team received ongoing consultation from the KITS development staff.


Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND)

Principal Investigator: Phil Fisher, PhD

Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND) is a video coaching program for parents and other caregivers of high-risk children. Consistent with other video coaching strategies, FIND employs video to reinforce naturally occurring, developmentally supportive interactions between caregivers and young children.  This simple, practical approach emphasizes caregivers’ strengths and capabilities. FIND was developed by Dr. Fisher and colleagues at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) and OSLC Developments Inc.


Principal Investigator: Ashli J. Sheidow, PhD

MST for Emerging Adults (MST-EA) in Washington, DC. focuses on assisting Evidenced-Based Associates in implementing MST-EA for one team in Washington, DC.  This includes intial training of supervisors and therapists, training a replacement therapist during the year as needed, providing individual booster planning and training, supervisor and clinician development planning, TAM collection and summary, tape review, trainer travel and annual program evaluation.

PAVE: Parenting and Visitation Enhancement

Principal Investigators: Patricia Chamberlain, PhD; Lisa Saldana, PhD

 There is a critical need for evidence-based parenting programs for parents involved in the child welfare system. When child welfare intervention results in out-of-home placement, parents typically are required to attend classes to improve their parenting skills. In most cases these parenting interventions are neither evidence-based nor tailored to the specific circumstances of families with children in placement. For instance, most evidence-based programs consist of a didactic component and a practice component where parents try new skills. These approaches do not account for an important factor of child welfare involvement – parents and children are not living together.

OSLC Developments, Partners for Our Children,  and Washington State’s child welfare agency developed a parenting intervention that incorporates visitation. In the development phase we gathered input from key stakeholders such as parents, the courts, and community members. Our goal was to create an evidence-based parenting program that addresses the specific needs of families involved in the child welfare system and to bring it to scale for system-wide change.

We built on four decades of research conducted at the Oregon Social Learning Center that focused on methods for strengthening parenting of high-risk children and adolescents. PAVE focused on providing parents with the skills and confidence needed to actively and competently participate in supervised visitations with their children during placement, and to subsequently transfer and extend these skills and attitudes to their parenting at home when the family is reunified.

Recognizing the need for such an intervention and the potential of this unique collaboration to achieve this goal, three foundations supported the initial developmental work: The Stuart Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and The Thomas V. Giddens Foundation.

Readiness and Resilience in National Guard Soldiers (RINGS-2)

Principal Investigator: Dave DeGarmo, PhD

This is a 4-year prospective study designed to examine the impact of deployment on the mental health of National Guard families and veterans. This project is funded by the Health Sciences Research and Development branch (HSR&D) of the Veterans Administration. The project embarked in November of 2010 and will continue through 2013. The project is headed by Melissa Polusny, PhD, LP, and Chris Erbes, PhD, LP, at the Minnesota VA Medical School. David DeGarmo, PhD, scientist at OSLC Developments Inc. is supported by RINGS2 as the senior methodologist for design and multilevel analyses of family health trajectories.

RINGS2 will provide systematic information about family well-being and NG veteran mental health that can facilitate the development of targeted and effective support programs for families before, during and after combat deployments. Roughly 2400 deploying soldiers and 1073 spouse/partners will be enrolled at pre-deployment National Guard Family Preparation Academy events. Soldier participants will be asked to complete the study survey at two time points, pre and post deployment. Their participating spouses/partners will be surveyed at 4 time points (pre and post deployment as well as two additional time points during deployment). The study will identify individual soldier and family level risk and protective factors and will specifically characterize heterogeneity in family functioning over the course of deployment and identify predictors of distinct trajectories of family well-being. The study will also provide data on the impact of family well-being on NG veteran’s post-deployment mental health.

In Home Tennessee

Project Lead: Patricia Chamberlain, PhD

OSLC Developments, Inc. is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to implement KEEP as part of In Home Tennessee, a statewide effort to build and coordinate resources for children and families. The KEEP program offers support for foster and kinship families. Implementation of KEEP is underway in the Smoky Mountain, Knox, Northeast, East, Davidson, Mid and Upper Cumberland, South Central, Southwest, Shelby, Tennessee Valley, and Northwest regions of the state.

Drazdowski K23
Reducing Opioid and Other Drug Use in Justice-Involved Emerging Adults using Paraprofessional Coaches (with and without Lived Experience) to Deliver Effective Services in a Non-Treatment Setting

Principal Investigator: Tess K. Drazdowski, PhD

This 5-year K23 “career development award” was awarded to Dr. Drazdowski from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The intent of these awards is to help new investigators develop into independent, NIH-funded researchers. The award includes salary support for Dr. Drazdowski, annual funding for her to conduct pilot research, and mentoring from Dr. Ashli Sheidow, Dr. Jason Chapman, Dr. Michael McCart, and other external collaborators. Dr. Drazdowski will focus her training on conducting health services research on emerging adults involved in the justice system, and particularly on the use of layperson “coaches” (recovery peer supports) within the justice system to improve substance use and other outcomes for this population.

R3 Supervisor Strategy

Principal Investigator: Lisa Saldana Ph.D.

Public child welfare systems (CWS) in the United States are populated with vulnerable children and families at high risk for negative outcomes, including substance use, risky sexual behavior, delinquency, incarceration, homelessness, and early mortality. Although large knowledge gaps remain regarding strategies to promote change within CWS, opportunities to integrate new interventions and to evaluate their effectiveness have been rare. The R3 Supervisor Strategy (R3) was developed to modify the way that the CWS workface supports families toward completing their treatment plans in order to improve system-level outcomes, including permanency, stability, and well-being.

The R3 Supervisor Strategy draws on behavioral principles from evidence-based models developed at the Oregon Social Learning Center. This research has consistently found that positive reinforcement used in interactions between parents and children significantly improves both child and parent outcomes. In R3, this is extended to the interactions between caseworkers and parents. The 3 Rs include: (1) Reinforcement of effort, (2) Reinforcement of relationships and roles, and (3) Reinforcement of small steps. The Rstrategy provides training, consultation, and fidelity monitoring to supervisors.

In addition to the three Rs, the R3 model follows four overarching principles: (1) use strength-focused language, (2) notice normative/appropriate behavior, (3) use a scientific approach (observe and reinforce), and (4) take opportunities to smile and laugh. These principles provide an underlying foundation for the caseworker to facilitate their positive reinforcement to parents in every interaction.

OSLC Developments, Inc. has collaborated with the child welfare systems in New York City and the state of Tennessee to implement the R3 model.


Principal Investigator: Lisa Saldana Ph.D.

FAIR (Families Actively Improving Relationships) was designed to address the needs of parents referred to child welfare services for neglect and substance use, including their co-occurring parenting and substance use needs. Previous research suggests many families referred to child welfare for neglect and substance use experience co-occurring risk factors; accordingly, the FAIR program aims to address these risk factors. FAIR achieved positive outcomes in a small, randomized pilot trial conducted as part of Dr. Saldana’s recently completed NIDA-funded Career Development Award. FAIR is currently being evaluated as part of an efficacy trial funded by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families.

FAIR is an intensive community-based treatment model that integrates components of two evidence-based behavioral interventions: 1) Parent Management Training (PMT; Patterson & Forgatch, 2010) developed at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) to increase parenting skills, teach and support positive family interactions, and address mental health problems; and 2) Reinforcement Based Therapy a community reinforcement approach of contingency management (RBT; Jones et al., 2005) to address adult substance use. Behavioral principles from these evidence-based interventions are integrated to address parenting, parental substance use, and any ancillary needs presented by the family (e.g., mental health, housing, employment). Ongoing engagement efforts are utilized throughout the 8 month treatment. Outcomes from the pilot suggest that these efforts were successful with 94% of participants randomized to FAIR engaging in treatment and 87% completing the full course of treatment.

The community-based, outpatient, intensive behavioral treatment involves five major components: 1) Teaching and supporting parenting skills including nurturing and attachment, reinforcement, emotion regulation, supervision, non-harsh discipline, and nutrition; 2) Delivering substance abuse treatment including contingency management, relationship building, day planning, healthy environments and peer choices, and refusal skills; 3) Resource building and provision of ancillary supports including housing, employment, support with court and child welfare attendance; 4) Use of incentives (FAIR bucks to spend in the FAIR store) for success with all treatment components; and 5) Ongoing engagement strategies. To implement and integrate these 5 components into one model, the FAIR team includes counselors, skills coaches, a resource builder, and a clinical supervisor.