The Middle School Success Project

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

A study of the effectiveness of providing enhanced services for pre-adolescent girls in foster care.

Project Overview

The Middle School Success Project examined the effectiveness of providing enhanced, focused services for pre-adolescent girls in foster care. The intervention was designed to prevent problems that could affect the girls’ futures. The families in the intervention group attended weekly group and individual skills training and support throughout the girls’ first year in middle school. The families in the control group received services “as usual” from Child Welfare and/or their schools. One hundred foster care girls and their foster parents participated in in-person and telephone interviews, five times over the course of 36 months.

Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

Principal Investigator

Leslie Leve, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Leve’s research is focused on the translation of basic research to inform preventive interventions. She leads research grants from NIDA, NIMH, and NICHD that focus on developmental pathways and intervention outcomes for at-risk youth and families. This includes preventive intervention studies with youth in foster care and with adolescents in the juvenile justice system aimed at preventing risk behaviors and improving public health outcomes, as well as adoption studies that examine the interplay between biological (genetic, hormonal), psychological, and social influences on development. Her published work in the area of gene-environment interplay emphasizes the translation of basic research findings to help refine the selection of malleable environmental targets in the context of prevention and intervention studies. She is also interested in issues specific to adjustment and outcomes for girls and women. Dr. Leve is a Professor of Counseling Psychology and Human Services in the College of Education and a Research Scientist at the Prevention Science Institute at the University of Oregon. She is the recipient of the 2011 Society for Prevention Research Prevention Science Award and is a member of the Society for Prevention Research Board of Directors. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1995.