AURORA, Colo – The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is awarding nearly $1.4 million to a partnership of Colorado organizations to test a promising approach to preventing maltreatment of infants and young children whose families face numerous stressors. 

The local project is The Strong Start Study: Strengthening Young Families Affected by Substance Use which will focus on pregnant women in substance abuse treatment and their babies. The study, through JFK Partners of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, will connect early with these women to help create systems of support with their families, friends and community through a High Fidelity Wraparound intervention. The goal will be increasing protective factors known to reduce maltreatment within the families to promote optimal child development.

“The awarding of the Strong Start Study for research on prevention of child maltreatment is a great opportunity to contribute to the needed knowledge in this area, especially given the heightened risk of developmental concerns for infants who have experienced prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs. This project is an excellent fit with the overall mission of JFK Partners in strengthening families and promoting good health outcomes for children,” said Corry Robinson, Director of JFK Partners, University of Colorado School of Medicine which is the lead organization for the project.

The University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry will conduct the evaluation. Other local partners include the Early Intervention Colorado of the Division of Developmental Disabilities and Women’s Treatment for Substance Use Disorders of the Division of Behavioral Health, both within the Colorado Department of Human Services.

This grant is one of four projects selected by CSSP to implement new models and evaluate their effectiveness. This research is part of the National Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood, a five-year project launched in late 2008 to develop and disseminate new knowledge about programs and strategies that prevent child maltreatment and optimal development of infants and children younger than five. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau awarded $10 million to CSSP to develop the Center with its partners ZERO to THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families; and the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds. 

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is a public policy, research and technical assistance organization.  CSSP works with state and federal policymakers and with communities across the country and relies on data, extensive community experience and a focus on results to promote smart policies that improve the lives of children and their families and achieve equity for those too often left behind. For more information, visit

Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the UC School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies.  The School is located on the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the UC Denver newsroom online. 

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