Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Director: Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine
2000 Predoctoral Fellowship, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine
2000 Ph.D., Clinical-Community Psychology, University of South Carolina
1993 B.S., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University
child welfare outcomes, administrative data systems, community-based research methods, program and service system evaluation
individual, family, and contextual risk and protective processes that impact child behavioral health and wellbeing following incidents of maltreatment, child welfare system contact, or other traumatic experiences; evaluation of community-level evidence-informed efforts to prevent or treat the negative effects of maltreatment and other traumatic experiences in children and adolescents; use of administrative data systems to inform child welfare system practice and policy initiatives
Maternal Opioid Misuse and child welfare system involvement (MOM-CWS)
This study will examine the link between prescription opioid misuse on risks of maltreatment and foster placement through creation of a statewide birth cohort of mothers enrolled in Medicaid at the time of delivery. Study aims include creating a statewide birth cohort of mother-child pairs enrolled in Medicaid at the time of delivery, and integrating the cohort with child maltreatment and foster care record systems (PA Medicaid Birth Cohort, PMBC). This cohort will be used to document maternal prenatal and postnatal prescription opioid use and misuse rates, and examine the relation to a range of maternal and child risk characteristics to misuse, as well as the effect of prescription opioid and other substance misuse on risks of child maltreatment and foster care placement.
Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) Study
The primary aim of the proposed study is to investigate the effects of child-focused permanency services, managed through Pennsylvania’s SWAN, on adoption, permanency, and post-permanency outcomes. Child-focused services to be investigated include child preparation, child-specific recruitment, placement, and post-permanency services. Using statewide foster care records, we will be developing a matched comparison group of youth who have not received SWAN supports. The study will leverage a range of existing data sources to examine outcomes within the child welfare system and into other child and young-adult systems.
Pennsylvania General Protective Services (GPS) Study
The primary aim of the study is to investigate the effects of involvement with the general protective services (GPS) system on subsequent contact with GPS or CPS and subsequent out-of-home placement; and to assess the effects of post-GPS services on child behavioral health and well-being outcomes. Pennsylvania’s GPS system represents an alternative or differential response to incidents of maltreatment that do not rise to the level of child abuse, as defined by State statute – primarily comprised of non-serious injury and neglect incidents. The study will leverage a range of existing data sources to examine outcomes within and across the child welfare system and other child-serving systems.
Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Systems Evaluation Research
This project involves multiple statewide initiatives (Connecticut and Rhode Island) to improve the capacity of child welfare systems to provide trauma-informed care to children and families involved in services. Three separate demonstration grants (funded by ACF and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network) addressed specific populations using comparable methods. Key features of the initiatives included work force development efforts, development and deployment of trauma screening tools and procedures, and dissemination of evidence based treatments (including TF-CBT; Trauma Systems Therapy; and Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC)). Project aims include examining the impact of these efforts at the child/family, workforce, and system levels through a mix of clinical outcome, survey, and administrative data.
Child & Family Well-Being Study
This community-based intervention study examines the effects of wraparound and other community-based services for children and families who have recently been involved in a child protective services (CPS) investigation. Wraparound is a family-centered, team-based planning process to provide individualized community-based services and natural supports for children and families. The study investigates 6- and 12-month effects of the intervention on child, caregiver, and family well-being, as well as processes resulting in outcomes. A parallel study uses administrative data to investigate child safety outcomes in a multi-year statewide cohort. The research study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
2009 – 2019
Adopt Wellbeing and Trauma Grant
2011 – 2018
Connecticut Collaboration on Effective Practices for Trauma (CONCEPT)
2016 – 2021
Evaluation of Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative (ECTC) Grant
2012 – 2015
Effects of the Wraparound Service Model for Maltreated Youth
2014 – 2018
Rhode Island Wraparound Study
Vidal, S., Connell, C.M., Prince, D.M., & Tebes, J.K. (in press). Multisystem-involved youth: A developmental framework and implications for research, policy, and practice. Adolescent Research Review.
Vidal, S. & Connell, C.M. (in press). Treatment effects of parent-child focused evidence-based programs on problem severity and functioning among children and adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
Lang, J.M. & Connell, C.M. (2018). The Child Trauma Screen: A follow-up validation. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 540-548.
Connell, C.M., Pittenger, S.L., & Lang, J.M. (2018) Patterns of trauma exposure in childhood and adolescence and their relation to behavioral well-being. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 518-528.
Connell, C.M., Steeger, C.M., Schroeder, J.A., Franks, R.P., & Tebes, J.K. (2016). Child and case influences on recidivism in a statewide dissemination of multisystemic therapy for juvenile offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43, 1330-1346.