The transition to middle school is an often challenging time as youth are exposed to more demanding academics and to social relationships with older peers. It is even more challenging for children in foster care. OSLC Scientist Patti Chamberlain earned a grant the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study whether an intervention will help foster children transitioning to middle school avoid risky behaviors including drug and tobacco use, participation in HIV-risking sexual behavior, delinquency, mental health problems, and school failure. Teens’ Risk During Transition: Preventing Drug Use, HIV & School Problems is a two-pronged intervention being developed in collaboration with Dr Joseph Price at San Diego State university and the San Diego Unified School District, the second largest school district in California. The intervention focuses on increasing parent and youth skills. With positive results from this effectiveness trial, the intervention will be expanded to other schools and child welfare systems.Year Project Began: 2012
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Patricia Chamberlain, Ph.D.
Oregon Social Learning Center
Active Research Projects
Primary Research and Clinical Interests
Dr. Chamberlain’s interest in developing interventions for children and families emerged from her early work as a special education teacher. She has conducted several studies on treatment for children, youth, and families in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. She founded the Treatment Foster Care Oregon (formerly Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care/MTFC; www.tfcoregon.com) and KEEP (www.keepfostering.org) intervention models. TFCO is an alternative to group, residential, and institutional placement for youngsters with severe antisocial behavior and mental health problems. KEEP provides enhanced support and training to state foster and kinship parents to prevent placement disruptions, improve reunification rates, and reduce child behavioral and emotional problems. TFCO and KEEP are being widely implemented throughout the United States and in Europe (see www.tfcoregon.com and keepfostering.org). She has been the Principal Investigator on 9 randomized trials examining the efficacy of parent mediated intervention approaches. A current area of focus is on implementation research which examines what it takes to integrate and scale-up evidence-based practices in to real world agencies and systems. Most recently, she led an effort to implement linked evidence-based practices, including KEEP and PMT, in the New York City child welfare system involving over 300 case workers and supervisors serving over 2,000 children and families (CSNYC). Currently, she is leading an effort to implement KEEP and R3 in 10 Tennessee counties as part of In Home Tennessee, their Title IVE waiver program. Other recent work has also focused on the development of intervention models for adolescent girls in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. In addition to working on research aimed at improving outcomes for youth and foster and biological families, she is interested in how to support child public service systems to improve the efficiency of their routine practices. She is currently involved in helping communities in the U.S. and Europe implement and scale up evidence-based interventions. Dr. Chamberlain is a senior fellow at the Society for Prevention Research (SPR), and was inducted into the first cohort SPR Fellows in 2013.