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RTI International’s National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being receives prestigious AAPOR award for policy impact on child welfare

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— RTI International and the Administration for Children and Families have received the American Association of Public Opinion Research’s prestigious Policy Impact Award for outstanding research that has had a clear impact on improving policy decisions, practice and discourse in the public sector.  The honor recognizes RTI’s work on the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), the most comprehensive analysis on the cognitive, physical, behavioral and emotional well-being of children and families involved with the child welfare system.

Firsthand reports from the children themselves, their caregivers, caseworkers, and teachers provide information about children’s functioning, risks and protective factors, service needs and service receipt. The survey collects information on sensitive topics such as substance abuse, involvement with the law, caregiver experience with intimate partner violence and child exposures to violence. NSCAW provided a key data source for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) reauthorized in 2010 and the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.  Data from NSCAW have been used by states to improve child welfare systems and have appeared in more than 500 publications, significantly expanding a body of rigorous, empirically based research that barely existed before 1997.

“We are honored not only to receive this award but to have been involved in NSCAW since its inception,” said Heather Ringeisen, Ph.D., director of RTI’s Center for Behavioral Health and Development and co-investigator on NSCAW. “My team and I are proud of how this ambitious project at the Administration for Children and Families has changed the national conversation about the needs of children in the child welfare system.”