Grant Enables Creation of Child and Family Center
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences to Offer Community Outreach Services
Aug. 5, 2008
Thanks to a $350,000 challenge grant from the Dallas-based Meadows Foundation, The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences will house a new Center for Children and Families.
The center will offer an array of clinical and community outreach activities, organized around three initiatives: parenting healthy families, strengthening interpersonal relationships, and enhancing thinking and learning.
Services to be offered include:
- Assessments for social and emotional problems, social-skills training and intervention programs for children from birth through adolescence.
- Current information about optimal child development and a place to turn for support, effective strategies and referrals for parents.
- Outreach to local practitioners, lectures and forums on child development for the general public and interdisciplinary analysis of social policy.
The center is a logical move for the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences because it has one of the largest concentrations of child development experts in the state. The school offers Texas’ largest master’s program for professionals serving early childhood intervention programs. The school also offers the largest master’s program in the state preparing speech-language pathology professionals to work with school districts.
The center will benefit from the continued wide spectrum of research conducted by Behavioral and Brain Sciences faculty in all areas of child development.
According to Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the center will be modeled after the Institute for Child Development at the University of Minnesota and the Child Study Center at Yale University.
“We have some of the nation’s leading investigators in a number of areas of child development. Through the new center, we will ensure that this expertise is available to benefit the Dallas community,” said Moore.
According to Moore, the center is seeking additional foundation and individual support as it works toward a $2 million goal.
“We are deeply grateful for the Meadows Foundation’s leadership in support for this important community resource. We hope to obtain additional support to maximize the impact for children,” Moore added.
The Center for Children and Families will be located on the main UT Dallas campus in Richardson and will complement the School’s other two nationally renowned community-oriented research and clinical centers, the Callier Center for Communication Disorders and the Center for BrainHealth.
UT Dallas faculty and administrators behind the initiative believe the center will become a vital community resource not only for advancing and disseminating the latest child development research, but also for integrating the knowledge into clinical practices by collaborating with community partners.
“Many children enter school without basic skills in regulating emotions and forming and maintaining relationships. Children without these skills are at high risk for early academic failure, likely to feel lonely and depressed, and prone to becoming perpetrators and victims of violence,” said Dr. Marion Underwood, a UT Dallas professor of psychology. “The good news is that these are skills that can be taught, and new research advances are made almost daily.”
The center will feature a multidisciplinary team of faculty and researchers from the UT Dallas Schools of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, as well as the UT Southwestern Medical School at Dallas.
Researchers and clinicians at the center will draw on the University’s extensive collaborative efforts with community agencies already in place, including the Dallas, Richardson and Plano independent school districts, The Childcare Group, Shelton School, Baylor University Medical Center, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Presbyterian Healthcare System, Parkland Healthcare System, the Autism Treatment Center and others.
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