Ted Cross - Senior Research Specialist
Ted Cross has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Boston University.
Dr. Cross’ overarching interest is in developing effective systemic responses to victims of child maltreatment. His current interests include a) well-being and mental health services for children involved with protective services, and b) investigation, prosecution and service delivery in response to child sexual abuse. Among his specific topics of interest are children's advocacy centers, child forensic interviewing, substantiation of child maltreatment, and polygraph testing in child abuse cases. He has served as an expert witness on polygraph testing and maintains a small private practice in child and adult psychotherapy.
Dr. Cross served as the Principal Investigator on the Illinois Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a statewide longitudinal probability study of child well-being, service delivery and child welfare outcomes for children involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Families. He is also working with Dr. Chiu on the evaluation of the Simulation Training for child welfare caseworkers in Illinois. And, he is part of the CFRC team that will be evaluating child healthcare services in Illinois.
Children’s Relationship with Foster Caregivers: Findings from 2017 Illinois Child Well- Being Study
Ted Cross, Aide Hernandez, and Steve Tran
Having a good relationship with a foster caregiver contributes substantially to children’s well-being in foster care. Assessing this relationship for Illinois children helps us understand and potentially help improve their quality of life. This research brief updates the assessment of Illinois children’s relationship with their foster caregivers using data collected in 2017-2018. This brief is one in a series that presents capsule summaries of results from the 2017 Illinois Child-Well-Being Study in different domains of well-being.
Findings From the 2017 Illinois Child Well- Being Study
Aide Hernandez, Ted Cross, and Steve Tran
An infographic presenting some of the major findings from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study.
Children in Out-of-Home Care and their Contact with Siblings: Findings from 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study
Ted Cross, Aide Hernandez, and Steve Tran
Children’s relationships with their siblings may be the one source of familial love that they can count on when they are placed in out-of-home care. Yet, placement in out-of-home care can separate children from their siblings. Illinois state law requires siblings who are in out-of-home care to be placed together whenever it is in their best interest and not in violation of other rules of the Department of Children and Family Services. This brief presents findings from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study on siblings of children in out-of-home care.. The study conducted interviews with caseworker, caregivers and children themselves to assess the well-being of a sample of 700 children in out-of-home care in the state. Many children in out-of-home care were placed with siblings, but a number of children had siblings in other placements, especially if there were three or more siblings in the family. Often children had limited contact with their siblings and wished for more interaction with them. These findings suggest the need for more progress to enable siblings in out-of-home care to live together and to strengthen the connections between siblings who must live apart.
Child Development of Children in DCFS Care: Findings from 2017 Illinois Child Well- Being Study
Steve Tran, Ted Cross, and Aide Hernandez
National research indicates that children in out-of-home care because of abuse or neglect are at significant risk for developmental difficulties, but to date we have limited information on the development of children in out-of-home care in Illinois. This brief presents findings on child development from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study. The study conducted interviews with caseworker, caregivers and children themselves to assess the well-being of a sample of 700 children in out-of-home care in the state. On a caregiver checklist, more than one-fifth of young children had scores on a caregiver checklist that indicated possible developmental delay or a level of developmental risk that needed to be monitored, but many of these children were not receiving a developmental intervention. Children’s likelihood of receiving a development intervention they needed differed by type of placement and by region. These finding indicate the need to develop a better understanding of what developmental interventions children in out-of-home care receive and the obstacles that keep children from receiving the help they need.
Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: FY2019 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree
Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto, Shufen Wang, Kyle A. Adams III, Satomi Wakita, Steve Tran, Yu-Ling Chiu, Michael Braun, Theodore P. Cross, Laura Lee, Aaron Burnett, Heidi Meyer
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 FY2019 monitoring report uses child welfare administrative data through December 31, 2018 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.
The Safety of Children in DCFS Care: Findings from 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study
Ted Cross, Aide Hernandez, and Steve Tran
Children are placed in out-of-home care through the Illinois Department of Children and Family services to protect their safety, so it especially important to assess their safety while in substitute care. This brief presents findings on child safety from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study. The study conducted interviews with caseworker, caregivers and children themselves to assess the well-being of a sample of 700 children in out-of-home care in the state. Substantial proportions of children in out-of-home care have witnessed and/or experienced violence in their life, but children and youth were much less likely to experience threats to their safety in their current placement. Substantial proportion of older adolescents and youth in group homes and residential treatment reported by physically hurt by someone in the past year. Overall, these findings suggest that placement in out-of-home care leads to greater safety. But continued vigilance about children’s safety is still needed, particularly for older adolescents and youth in group homes and residential treatment.
The Education of Children in DCFS Care: Findings from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study
Aide Hernandez, Steve Tran, and Ted Cross
Children placed in out-of-home care because of abuse or neglect often have cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and health problems that can make it difficult to succeed at school. But we have limited data on the educational well-being of Illinois children in out-of-home care through the Department of Children and Family Services. This brief presents findings on education from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study. The study conducted interviews with caseworker, caregivers and children themselves to assess the well-being of a sample of 700 children in out-of-home care in the state. Most children and youth were was performing adequately or better in school, but many children faced obstacles to school success. The brief presents an overview of results and discusses the need for increased efforts to help children in out-of-home care with their education.
FY2019 Program Evaluation of the Child Protection Training Academy for New DCFS Investigators
Yu-Ling Chiu and Theodore P. Cross
The FY2019 evaluation report of CPTA's simulation training included the following sections: 1) description of CPTA's updated training model; 2) daily experience of simulation training (DEST) that measured trainees’ daily changes in confidence on thirteen child protection work skills over the course of the simulation training week; 3) post-training satisfaction survey regarding trainees’ experience of the certificate training ; 4) simulation training and investigator turnover using DCFS employment data. The findings show that the positive results over three years of the program evaluation support the value of CPTA and suggest the potential of its current expansion. It is encouraging that investigators hired since February 2016 are staying on the job longer than investigators hired prior to that date. Data can be used both to advocate for the value of CPTA and to inform efforts at program improvement.
Using Simulation Training to Teach Child Protection Investigators in Illinois-Program Evaluation of the Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA)
Yu-Ling Chiu, Theodore P. Cross, Betsy P. Goulet, Susan Oppegard Evans, and Monico Whittington-Eskridge
The CFRC evaluation team collaborated with the CPTA at the University of Illinois Springfield and the DCFS Office of Learning & Professional Development on a presentation at the 2019 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit on August 20th. The presentation included discussion of the CPTA simulation training model, the main evaluation findings between 2017 and 2019, and the simulation training expansion at the Chicago site.
2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study
Ted Cross, Steve Tran, Aide Hernandez, and Emily Rhodes
The 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study provides a snapshot of the well-being of children and youth in out-of-home care in Illinois in 2017. The Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) drew a stratified random sample of 700 children and youth from the population of children and youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in October 2017. The Survey Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted interviews with caseworkers, foster care providers, and children age seven and older between December 2017 and July 2018. Interviews included questions developed for the study as well as a number of standardized scales measuring child functioning and well-being.
The report documents the progress many children and youth are making, but also the disproportionate number of children who lag in development, deal with physical and behavioral health challenges, struggle in school, or face threats to their safety. The well-being data can be used to advocate for children’s needs, inform the development of DCFS policy and practice, and guide in-depth well-being research.