U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Children & Families Grant/Subcontract with BCFS

UTSA CAPRI partnered with BCFS, a non-profit organization serving foster youth transitioning out of care throughout Texas, to implement a two-year assessment of services to foster youth. The project, one of only 18 funded throughout the United States by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services / Administration for Children & Families, allows the research team to evaluate the services provided to foster youth, identify gaps and needs, and design improvements that will promote more positive outcomes for foster youth. Areas of focus include Permanent Connections, Prevention of Homelessness, Emotional and Social Well-being, and Educational and Job Training Opportunities.

Inman Christian Center (ICC) – Charity Ball Association

The UTSA-CAPRI examined the efficiency of early childhood teacher professional development in early childhood centers not associated with a public school system or Head Start.  The Inman Christian Center (ICC), the focus of this study, was an independent early childhood development center which serves low-income Hispanic families who reside in economically and educationally disadvantaged areas in San Antonio.  CAPRI provided ICC teachers mentorship and intensive weekend group early childhood education training sessions at UTSA.  CAPRI conducted pre and post tests and measured outcomes with the Infant and Toddler Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R) and the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R). This research demonstrates that providing professional development opportunities reinforced with teacher mentoring practiced within a humanistic approach and involving problem solving skills can enrich the quality of early childhood programs.

Foster Care Alumni Housing Project

The goal of this project was to understand the housing needs of Foster Care Alumni and provide recommendations to community agencies to improve housing services. Approximately 25-75% of foster care youth end up homeless. Youth need adequate information about housing options, on-going presentation for independent living, and positive mentoring support to maintain stable, permanent housing.

Infant Language Acquisition of Infants in Bilingual Contexts

National Science Foundation – Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) 

The University of Washington, Seattle collaborated with the UTSA-CAPRI to study infant language acquisition in bilingual contexts. The UTSA team identified the participants; conducted qualitative open-ended interviews with parents about who spoke English and Spanish; about their thoughts regarding bilingualism, and strategies they used to promote bilingualism in their homes; The UTSA-CAPRI research team conducted the MacArthur Vocabulary and Concepts Inventory every month in the homes in English and Spanish and tested the children’s overall development on a standardized developmental assessment instrument. The University of Washington researchers visited UTSA to test the brain waves of the infants at six months in response to sounds of English and Spanish and children’s brain responses to words in English and Spanish at age two. The results were published in the Journal of Phonetics and showed that infants exposed to more than one language with more intensity had larger vocabularies at age two. These results support the promotion of bilingual language exposure from very early ages and refute the idea that bilingualism will delay language development/reading readiness. The study is also positively related to the literature that shows that the greater the vocabulary of children (in one or more languages), the stronger reading readiness.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development- Hispanic Serving Institutions Assisting Communities

HUD-HSIAC consisted of two components: Parent-make and take and computer literacy courses.  The parent-make and take course goals provided parents educational activities that can be used at home. Activities focused on letter and sound recognition, rhyming, math skills, and reading comprehension. monthly Computer literacy courses held at Vista Verde Community Learning Center focused on basic computer skills. The goal of the computer training was to increase exposure to employment opportunities and enhance communication abilities.

Small Business Development Workshops

This project provided the tools and information on potential small business development to teen parents by providing business advice in a consistent, efficient, and positive manner.

Family, Friends, & Neighbors

In this project UTSA-CAPRI reseachers conducted interviews with community child care providers to find out specific needs of lower income, informal child care. The research team presented information and made recommendations to promote development of new programs for child care providers.

Jose Cardenas Child Development Center

CAPRI collaborated with the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning to completely renovate a 4,500 square foot building and playground for an Early Childhood Development Center in colaboration with Edgewood School District. UTSA students developed math, science, and early literacy workshops for parents. Upgrades included air conditioning, new roof and walls, and painting. A new playground, facade, and drop off zone were designed by the UTSA Department of Architecture.

Navarro Academy Early Childhood Development Center

With Funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Higher Education Community Partnership grant, this project built a child development center from the ground up to showcase academic programs for 3-4 year old students. It serves about 90 children and functions as a laboratory for San Antonio Independent School District teachers and UTSA early education majors. UTSA Architecture students designed a state-of-the-art playground and Bank of America provided funds to build playground.

Model Intervention Project – Community and Adolescents Advancing Nationally (CAAN) Grant

The Research/Evaluation task group is conducting a thorough analysis of foster youth and is working with task force groups to develop a survey that specifically addresses risk and protective factors that affect each of the outcome areas and could be predictive of homelessness ranging from 14 – 21 years old and to identify what information youth have about their options for housing when they age out of care.

Early Childhood Teacher Initiative

Sophia Ortiz and Alexandra Romero mentored and advised early childhood education teachers regarding financial aid, class selection, major selection, and future education goals as part of a two year City of San Antonio grant from Health and Human Services. The Initiative also provided four summer UTSA courses to help participants progress quickly in their education.

Foster Care Project

The ACCESS Center computer lab and resource room assists youth transitioning out of foster care to enroll in college and provides a webpage for all foster youth to provide updated information on college applications, course registration, financial aid, and housing.