News and Events

CFS Celebrates New and Continued Funding to Support Children and Families in Our State and Nation

In June, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s state budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. According to the Governor, the budget totaling $92.2 billion, “reflects a steadfast commitment to Floridians by safeguarding important investments in key areas including education, the environment, infrastructure, public safety and more.”

“We are extremely pleased that several of the important investments are programs within our department,” said Professor Mario Hernandez, CFS Department Chair. “It speaks to the volume of our work and dedication of our faculty and staff who work on many issues to ensure the health and success of Florida’s children and families.”

In addition to the the funded grants below, CFS faculty and staff are currently working on 14 grant submissions to be submitted before the end of August.

Annual state funding approved for CFS programs:

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at USF (CARD-USF)

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at USF (CARD-USF), a community-based project that provides information and consultation to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities. CARD consultants provide direct assistance to families, schools and agencies by providing specific strategies and resources to meet an individual's needs through a training and assistance model. Seven CARD centers across the state serve almost 50,000 families across every county in Florida. CARD-USF was funded at the full amount of $1,444,757.

“The CARD staff are so hardworking and have continued to provide very high quality and compassionate support for our constituents and community, as well as rethinking and re-tooling basically everything we do based on COVID  impact,” said Beth Boone, Executive Director of CARD-USF and The Learning Academy. “I’m so grateful and humbled to be able to continue to facilitate the great work of this incredible team!”

Florida’s Center for Child Welfare (The Center)

Florida’s Center for Child Welfare (The Center) is an online environment established 2007 serving child welfare and child protection stakeholders throughout Florida improve child welfare service delivery and practice and to facilitate the identification, expansion, and transfer of expert knowledge and best practices in child welfare case practice, direct services, management, finances, policy, quality assurance, and organizational development. The Center also develops and maintains websites for Florida Quality Parenting Initiative, Just in Time Training for licensed caregivers, and Florida Children’s Legal Services.

Utilizing web based technology and video technology, The Center ensures engagement and a consistent information flow between Florida’s child welfare and related professionals and links customer to resources, innovations and evidence based models and practices used across the state and throughout the country. The Center enhances information sharing and the transfer of knowledge by creating and promoting professionally accredited online training and enabling virtual meetings and webcasts to efficiently disseminate information that is timely, economical and convenient to its busy customer base. The Center issues more than 120,000 re-certification and re-licensing hours annually.

The Center ensures the dissemination of accurate and relevant child welfare information to all Florida child welfare professionals through the development and maintenance of the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) library.  Users are encouraged to submit practice and policy questions to the Center.  The Center staff research and provide a response to the requester and then post the newly developed ‘FAQ’ on the Center site.

The Center maintains a listserv of more than 16,000 child welfare professionals.  Newsletters with the most up-to-date practice and policy resources are created and disseminated on a weekly schedule.  Pam Menendez services as PI, funded by The Department of Children and Families at 838,551.

Florida HIPPY Test of Early Childhood Programs and Applications

Florida HIPPY Test of Early Childhood Programs and Applications: The Florida HIPPY T&TA Center will conduct a randomized controlled trial testing the value-added effect of selected early childhood online curriculum among children participating in the program. The goal of this study is to expand the home-based, early intervention program that helps parents create experiences for their children that lay the foundation for success in school and later life. Tracy Jordan serves at PI. Funded by the Florida Office of Early Learning and Early Learning Coalitions at $395,703.

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), a parent involvement and school readiness program offering free home-based early childhood education for three, four and five-year-old children working with their parent(s) as their first teacher. The parent is provided with a set of developmentally appropriate materials, curriculum and books designed to strengthen their children’s cognitive skills, early literacy skills, social/emotional and physical development. The Florida HIPPY Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center, housed within CFS, works in collaboration with HIPPY USA’s national office in Little Rock, Arkansas to provide training, technical support, and guidance to all of the HIPPY programs in the state of Florida. During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, HIPPY served 1934 children in Florida. Tracy Jordan serves at Director. HIPPY was funded at the full $3.9 million amount.

Interdisciplinary Center for Evaluation and Intervention (ICEI) is a Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources (FDLRS)

Interdisciplinary Center for Evaluation and Intervention (ICEI) is a Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources (FDLRS) specialized clinic housed within CFS. The center, funded by the Florida Department of Education, provides comprehensive evaluations and interventions at no-cost for school-aged students (3-22 years of age) who have complex behavior, developmental, and social/emotional challenges. This specialized clinic collaborates with school districts, community agencies, and families to implement evidence-based practices with fidelity. The ICEI team includes professionals and USF graduate students from the discipline areas of applied behavior analysis, communication sciences, family, pediatrics, psychology, social work, and special education. Rose Iovannone is PI. ICEI is funded at $450,000.

Statewide Implementation of the Pyramid Model

Statewide Implementation of the Pyramid Model will provide training and technical assistance to the Florida Office of Early Learning and Early Learning Coalitions for the statewide implementation of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in infants and young children within early education programs with a focus on promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children birth to five. Lise Fox will serve at PI. Funded by the Florida Office of Early Learning and Early Learning Coalitions at $80,276.

Children's Mental Health System

USF is evaluating the Children’s Mental Health System of Care (SOC) Expansion Sustainability Project in four SOC Expansion Sites. USF shall coordinate with Department SOC project staff, local service providers and other stakeholders to develop data collection methods for a thorough evaluation and analysis based on grant project requirements. USF shall include family members on the evaluation team through the parent advisory group and parent data collectors and report evaluation findings to the statewide Core Advisory Team and the local planning teams in the Expansion Sites in a continuous quality improvement effort. The evaluation shall include two components: A culturally and linguistically competent process evaluation to measure effectiveness of the implementation process, fidelity to SOC values and principles, and fidelity to the statewide CMHSOC implementation strategic plan; and a clinical outcome evaluation to measure effectiveness of service provision to youth and family members

Federal Funding

Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC)/University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD)

The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) at USF received a competitive renewal for another five years as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD). UCEDDs work to accomplish a shared vision that foresee a nation in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities. Funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, there are currently 67 UCEDDs that focus on: Interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education, training and technical assistance, community services, research, and dissemination. Through leadership in research and evaluation, theory, policy, capacity building, and practice, the FCIC is committed to developing a range of supports and services in the areas of Community Supports, Early Childhood, Education, Employment, Health, and Interdisciplinary Training. The total value of the project across five years is $2,858,660, funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  Co-Directors: Lise Fox and Don Kincaid. Associate Director: Elizabeth Perkins.

Development and Pilot Testing of Modular-based Consultation using Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers of Students with Emotional Disturbance (MOTIVATED).

CFS has received a three-year development grant from the U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciencestotaling $1,397,918 entitled Development and Pilot Testing of Modular-based Consultation using Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers of Students with Emotional Disturbance (MOTIVATED).  

“The number of students who are found eligible for special education services under the eligibility of emotional disturbance has been steadily increasing over the past 40 years,” said Professor Kim Crosland, PI of the grant. “Unfortunately, teachers of students with emotional disturbance often are undertrained or unable to access evidence-based interventions to use in their classrooms. The MOTIVATED project intends to address this by developing a collaborative coaching model to assist teachers in selecting and implementing evidence-based practices matched to their classroom needs.”

The project will involve the development of a coaching manual with instructions for using the modules, the classroom assessment and teacher interview tool, detailed explanation of the coaching process, the intervention modules, and treatment integrity forms for each of the interventions. CFS faculty Rose Iovannone and Diana Ginns will serve as Co-PI’s.

Efficacy Trial of the Modular Approach for Autism Programs in Schools (MAAPS)

This study of an individualized, comprehensive modular intervention system provides a modular framework for school teams to assess, select, implement, and evaluate evidence-based interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). MAAPS is composed of evidence-based practices to address the core and associated features of ASD. The goal of MAAPS is to evaluate whether, compared to services as usual, MAAPS improves teacher and student outcomes. MAAPS will be implemented under routine conditions in authentic education settings by classroom teachers of students with ASD. 120 students with ASD across three states and their classroom teachers will be enrolled in the project. Sixty schools will be recruited with each school having an average of two student-teacher dyads. Schools will be randomized to either immediate training in MAAPS from the study team or a waitlist that will receive MAAPS training at the start of the subsequent school year. Rose Iovannone serves as PI. Funded by the University of Rochester/Institute of Education Sciences at $1,050,000.

Effect of Bilingual vs Monolingual Methods of Explicit English Vocabulary Instruction on 4th Grade Spanish-speaking English Learners (EL): Exploring Accuracy, Retention, and Transfer of Learning

This four-year project is examining whether bilingual methods of explicit vocabulary instruction are more effective than monolingual methods in promoting learning of general purpose academic English words among 4th grade Spanish-speaking English learners. The project team headed by Maria S. Carlo will look at differences in the rate of learning, retention of learning, and transfer to untaught words across the two methods. They will also examine the extent to which the effects of the bilingual and monolingual methods are moderated by executive function skills and Spanish and English proficiency. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences at $1,398,975.