UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

Steve Tran - Research Specialist

Steve Tran, PhD

[He / Him / His]

The Children & Family Research Center

School of Social Work, University of Illinois

1010 W. Nevada, Suite 2080


(217) 300-7205

tran19@illinois.edu

Educational/Professional Background

Dr. Steve P. Tran received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Jose State University in 2008. He then came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned his master’s degree in Human and Community Development in 2012 and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies in 2016. Steve’s past research has examined immigrant and ethnic minority children and families, acculturation, globalization, family autonomy and relatedness, family resilience, and child and family well-being, and he joined the Children and Family Research Center as a Research Specialist in 2017.

Research/Practice Interests

Steve’s research interests broadly include the study of immigrant/ethnic minority youth and families, acculturation, globalization, and child and family well-being.

Current Projects

At CFRC, Steve is part of the research teams for the annual Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree, Illinois Child Death Review Teams, and the Child Well-Being Study.

Dec 2021 / Journal Publication / Simulation Training Evaluation    
Evaluation of a Simulation Training Program for New Child Protection Investigators: A Survey of Investigators in the Field
Ted Cross, Yu-Ling Chiu, Kirsten Havig, Laura Lee, and Steve Tran

A new movement has developed to provide simulation training to child protection professionals to prepare them to work with families around child safety and well-being. This article reports on a survey of child protection investigators in Illinois that was conducted as part of a program evaluation of a prominent simulation training program, the Child Protection Training Academy. Simulation-trained investigators continued to value their simulation training months to years later, rated their certification training more highly than investigators without simulation training, and reported less difficulty developing the skills of evidence-based documentation and testifying in court.

Cross, T. P., Chiu, Y. L., Havig, K., Lee, L., & Tran, S. P. (2021). Evaluation of a simulation training program for new child protection investigators: A survey of investigators in the field. Children and Youth Services Review, 131. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106295

Dec 2021 / Research Brief / Outcomes Monitoring, Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System    
Theodore Cross, Steve Tran, Eliza Betteridge, Robert Hjertquist, Tawny Spinelli, Jennifer Prior Neil Jordan, and Soonhyung Kwon

Screening children who are entering out-of-home care is widely implemented but not thoroughly studied. Using a sample from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, we examined whether emotional and behavioral needs identified by an Integrated Assessment (IA) at entry predict needs and services while in care. This research brief is reproduced from Chapter 5 of the 2021 Monitoring Report for the B.H. Consent Decree and adapted from a journal article by the authors. Data from the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) measure completed in the IA were combined with data from a point-in-time study of the well-being of children in out-of-home care. Having a behavioral or emotional need identified at entry predicted having a similar need and receiving mental health services during out-of-home c are. The relationship did not diminish with length of time in care; IA CANS predicted needs and services even for children in substitute care for an extended period. These results provide evidence for the validity of the IA CANS for screening for children’s needs in out-of-home care. The persistence of problems suggests the value of baseline screening as a guide for service delivery throughout children’s stay in care, and the need for more effective mental health services specially tailored for children in substitute care.


Oct 2021 / Report / Outcomes Monitoring    
Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto, Kyle Adams, Yu-Ling Chiu, Theodore Cross, Cady Landa, Laura Lee, Steve Tran, Satomi Wakita, and Shufen Wang

Since its inception in 1996, the Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) has produced an annual report that monitors the performance of the Illinois child welfare system in achieving its stated goals of child safety, permanency, and well-being. The FY2021 monitoring report uses child welfare administrative data through December 31, 2020 to describe the conditions of children in or at risk of foster care in Illinois. Following an introductory chapter, the results are presented in five chapters that examine critical child welfare outcomes, including child safety, continuity and stability in care, legal permanence, racial disproportionality, and child well-being.


Sep 2021 / Report / Simulation Training Evaluation    
Ted Cross, Yu-Ling Chiu, Shufen Wang, Laura Lee, Steve Tran, and Kirsten Havig

In FY2021, the Children and Family Research Center’s (CFRC) evaluation team again used multiple sub-studies to examine the implementation and outcomes of simulation training for new child protection investigators in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service. This is an important time historically to study simulation training because of the effect of COVID-19 on trainees, their work and the training itself. Chapter 1 summarizes CTPA’s implementation in 2021: adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic through virtual methods, training supervisors in problem-based learning, and re-formatting investigator training. Chapter 2 presents results from the Daily Experience of Simulation Training (DEST) measure. The measure was designed to examine change in trainees’ confidence over the course of simulation training. This is an important time to assess DEST results, because of changes in simulation training during FY2021, as discussed in the Introduction. Chapter 3 offers updated results from a post-training satisfaction survey. The chapter reports trainees’ satisfaction ratings for simulation training over this time period. It also provides qualitative results from the analysis of open-ended items in the post-training satisfaction survey. Chapter 4 examines whether simulation training is related to employee turnover. Using two different analytic methods, it asks whether investigators trained using simulation training have stayed in their jobs longer than investigators who were not provided simulation training. Chapter 5 examines the relationship of simulation training to child safety. We compared sim-trained and non-sim-trained investigators on the likelihood that children in their investigations were involved in re-reports to DCFS. The last chapter provides the conclusion of this year’s evaluation and recommendations for improving the program.


Sep 2021 / Report / Children's Mental Health Systems of Care    
Tamara Fuller, Theodore Cross, Yu-ling Chiu, Cady Landa, Kirsten Havig, and Steven Tran

This report presents the results of the first annual stakeholder survey that was administered to system of care stakeholders in the five CMHI 3.0 communities. The stakeholder survey is an important component of the evaluation of the Children's Mental Health Initiative that assesses the degree to which various implementation supports and activities have been implemented, such as a strategic plan that guides implementation and a steering committee that meets frequently. The survey also assesses fidelity to the systems of care principles in the service delivery system, including the extent to which services are individualized, family-driven, youth-guided, coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, based on evidence-informed and promising practices, least restrictive, and comprehensive. Finally, the Stakeholder Survey includes sections that measure several system-level outcomes, including availability of specific home- and community-based services, residential and non-residential treatment services, and evidence-based mental health interventions; coordination among various child- and family-serving systems (child welfare, education, public health, juvenile justice, primary health, substance abuse, and mental and behavioral health); and commitment to the SOC philosophy and approach.


Aug 2021 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    
Steve Tran and Tamara Fuller

This research brief highlights the findings from the most recent CDRT annual report on child deaths that occurred in Illinois in 2019. The brief presents summary information about child deaths in Illinois by age, race, and by the category and manner of death, as well as examples of CDRT recommendations to prevent child deaths.


Aug 2021 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    
Steve Tran and Tamara Fuller

This research brief uses data from the annual CDRT reports to examine trends in child deaths between 2010 and 2019. The brief describes trends in total child deaths by child age, manner and category of death, as well as programs and initiatives in the state to prevent and reduce child deaths.


Aug 2021 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    
Steve Tran and Bernadette Emery

Many of the reviews conducted by the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs) involve unsafe sleep, and for the past several years they have has sought to bring increased attention to infant deaths due to unsafe sleep. The Illinois Child Death Review conducted a detailed examination of these deaths by child race/ethnicity, gender, age, sleeping position, and the locations and environments of the deaths. This brief highlights the findings of these analyses.


Jun 2021 / Report / Children's Mental Health Systems of Care    
Tamara Fuller, Steve Tran, Theodore Cross, Yu-ling Chiu, Cady Landa, and Kirsten Havig

This report presents the results of the first annual stakeholder survey that was administered to system of care stakeholders in the five CMHI 3.0 communities. The stakeholder survey is an important component of the evaluation of the Children's Mental Health Initiative that assesses the degree to which various implementation supports and activities have been implemented, such as a strategic plan that guides implementation and a steering committee that meets frequently. The survey also assesses fidelity to the systems of care principles in the service delivery system, including the extent to which services are individualized, family-driven, youth-guided, coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, based on evidence-informed and promising practices, least restrictive, and comprehensive. Finally, the Stakeholder Survey includes sections that measure several system-level outcomes, including availability of specific home- and community-based services, residential and non-residential treatment services, and evidence-based mental health interventions; coordination among various child- and family-serving systems (child welfare, education, public health, juvenile justice, primary health, substance abuse, and mental and behavioral health); and commitment to the SOC philosophy and approach.


Mar 2021 / Research Brief / Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System    
Steve Tran, Soonhyung Kwon, and Theodore Cross

The 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study found that many children and youth in out-of-home care in the state have significant developmental, physical, emotional, behavioral and/or educational challenges. However, some children in the study are capable of functioning well at home and school, despite the trauma of abuse and neglect and the difficulties of living in out-of-home care. We used measures from the study to examine how frequently children and youth functioned well across multiple measures. We found that many Illinois children and youth in out-of-home care demonstrated behavioral, emotional and educational resilience across multiple measures of functioning. Child welfare practice needs to take into account children and youth’s resilience and build on their strengths.