On this Page: MISSION | MANDATE | FUNDING | BY-LAWS | ANNUAL REPORT
The Centre conducts and disseminates research on effective programs and policies for vulnerable children and youth and their families.
Vulnerability is broadly defined to include social, family, emotional, cognitive and health related problems that place children and youth at risk of developing serious psycho-social problems and not being able to achieve their full developmental potential. These can include a range of problems such as poverty, family violence, youth violence, mental health problems and disabilities.
Programs and policies include prevention and intervention programs to support vulnerable children and their families that have been developed in a range of settings, including but not limited to child welfare, children's mental health, education, recreation, and health care.
- conducting research on effective prevention and intervention programs for vulnerable children and their families, including (i) research to understand risk and protective factors, (ii) efficacy and cost-effectiveness of prevention and intervention programs, (iii) analysis of administrative datasets to describe services and track outcomes, and (iv) in-depth studies to explore process and contextual factors that effect program implementation;
- developing partnerships between researchers, service providers and policy makers, with a specific focus on (i) promoting research in partnership with Batshaw Youth and Family Centres and other child and youth health and social service agencies in Montreal and across Quebec, particularly organizations serving the Anglophone community, and (ii) providing a bridge between Quebec's extensive network of francophone community-university child and family research groups and other McGill, Canadian and international research groups focusing on vulnerable children and youth;
- providing research training for graduate and post-graduate students, as well as supporting the development of research capacity in child and family service agencies;
- ensuring timely dissemination of Centre-based research in a manner that is accessible and relevant to policy makers and service providers.
The core infrastructure for the Centre is supported by several operating endowments. The Alva Foundation, which has established both the Philip Fisher Chair and Directorship of the Centre and created an endowment that provides operating income for the Centre. The Centre's operating endowment has also been supported and significantly increased through the support of an anonymous donor.
A generous ten year grant from the The Royal Bank of Canada has permitted the creation of the RBC Children’s Services Research & Training Program at the CRCF which will support two key initiatives. The first initiative is to provide technical support and research training to assist policy makers and community-based children’s mental health service providers in developing their research and program evaluation capacity. In addition, the funds will be used to staff and maintain a data laboratory set up to extract and house administrative children services data from across the country. The second initiative is to support an RBC Internship Program that allows community professionals and students with research internship and training opportunities to develop their capacity to use research tools to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and services.
The centre’s research, training and dissemination activities are supported further by a number of research grants and contracts held by centre researchers. A complete list of these grants and contracts can be seen on our Projects page.
In accord with the university regulations for Research Centres at McGill, the following by-laws describe the governance structure for the Centre for Research on Children and Families:
This report covers research, training and dissemination activities from January to December 2012, and presents financial reports covering the 2011-12 fiscal year (May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012).
Twenty nine research projects were run through the Centre in 2012 supported by over a million dollars in research grants and contracts, including a new seven-year SSHRC Partnership Development grant in partnership with First Nations and mainstream Youth Protection service organizations. Funding for the CRCF core infrastructure is supported by an endowment provided by the Alva Foundation (see Appendix A). Support for community research projects and operating the Children’s Service Data Lab is provided through a Royal Bank of Canada gift for the RBC Children’s Services Research & Training Program.
Centre researchers are engaged with an increasing number of organizations: (1) local service providers including the African Canadian Development & Prevention Network, Batshaw Youth and Family Services, the Old Brewery Mission, Kahnawake Shakotiia'takenhas Community Services, sexual assault centres, the St Justine and Montreal Children’s Hopitals; (2) provincial organizations including the Ministry of health and Social Services, the Association des centre jeunesse du Québec and the First Nations Health and Social Services Commission of Quebec and Labrador; and (3) national organizations ranging from the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and Family caring society, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the National Crime Prevention Centre and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Our activities range from assisting agencies with program development and program evaluation activities, to conducting clinical studies, to providing governments with policy advice, to leading provincial and national epidemiological studies. The Centre houses the most important collection of child welfare research datasets in Canada, including the three national cycles of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, and a Québec-wide administrative data base tracking over 400,000 children who have received Youth Protection services over the last twenty years. Research activities have had program and policy impact at all levels, from local agencies, to departments of social services in several provinces, to Federal agencies and NGOs.
The Centre’s dissemination and knowledge mobilization activities include a monthly research seminar series, two monthly journal clubs (child welfare and children’s disabilities) as well as a range of research training workshops. The Centre’s reach across Canada and internationally is supported by the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal (cwrp.ca), Canada’s most extensive child welfare research and policy clearinghouse. The Centre’s membership counts over 40 student and community members, 15 professors, and four research labs. Centre members published 44 articles in peer reviewed journals, 17 book chapters and 37 reports in 2012.
The CRCF activities chart (next page) tracks projects, new funds received in the fiscal year as well as the number of students involved with Centre projects. Funds tracked include all funds managed by the Centre that were received in the fiscal year. These do not include funds from the Centre’s endowment (see Appendix A) nor do they include funds that Centre researchers have access to as collaborators or co-investigators on projects run outside of the Centre. After an initial period of expansion, CRCF funds, membership and activities appear to have plateaued in the range of one million dollars in new funds per year (a more than ten-fold return on the Centre’s endowment income), with 35 to 40 students involved in 25 to 30 projects; a level of activity that reflects the infrastructure available to the Centre and the capacity of its members.
As we move forward over the next couple of years, the Centre faces several challenges: relocation during major renovations of Wilson Hall and the impact of provincial cuts to funding, which significantly affect the University’s budget, funding of provincial research grants, and the capacity of our agency partners to engage in projects. We nevertheless expect funding and activity levels to remain stable. Along with the Centre’s endowment income ($95,000/year), the Centre has six more years of funding from the Royal Bank of Canada’s annual gift ($150,000/year), six years of research support and training funding from the SSHRC Building Research Capacity (BRC) partnership grant (approx. $250,000/year), in addition to a consistent pattern of project funding from grants and contacts brought in by Centre members. These funds have allowed us to hire an Associate Director, Dr. Tonino Esposito, who will also be leading the BRC training data analysis program and continue to build the RBC Children’s Services Data Lab. The commitment and energy of our members, our solid funding record, and our well-established engagement with community partners should put the Centre in strong position to meet these challenges.
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