Contact: Jacque Montgomery: 303-961-3645

National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect Awards Grants for Disruptive Research

Denver — Feb. 25, 2019 — The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect (EndCAN) is bringing a new approach to addressing the rising rates of child abuse and neglect in our country. EndCAN announced today its support of three disruptive research projects that focus on helping us better understand the public health, mental health and health impacts of child abuse and neglect.

EndCAN received more than 50 applications in its call for disruption paper ideas, and 22 papers were accepted and were blindly reviewed by 18 qualified peers throughout the United States. Grants were awarded in three key focus areas: clinical, prevention and research.

“The response to our first ever call for papers tells us that many in our country want to do more for children hurt by abuse and neglect,” said Lori Poland, executive director of The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect. “These disruptive ideas will bring fresh approaches and unite more champions dedicated to reducing rates of child abuse in our country.”

The award for the Clinical Category of Disruption went to Florida State University’s Patricia Babcock and her project entitled “What if Child Maltreatment was Childhood Leukemia?: Lessons from the Halls of the Hospital.” This paper aims to examine the aspects of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) prevention, research, training and clinical treatment that can be applied to child welfare. Since the 1960s, childhood cancer researchers have been able to reach a 98 percent remission rate and 90 percent five-year survival rate with limited research, training and treatment dollars. In contrast, child welfare fatalities and maltreatment incidences have continued to increase.This paper will focus on utilizing childhood cancer research and treatment as the catalyst for disrupting or re-creating a child welfare system that is preventive in nature and better equipped to treat the multitude of family and community issues that contribute to maltreatment.

A team of researchers received the award in the Prevention Category of Disruption. Heather Risser and Alexandra Morford of Northwestern University, Kimberly Svevo-Cianci of Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation and Elba Jung Karim with Roots and Wings Counseling Consultants entitled their project “Achieving Comprehensive Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect.”  Its goal is to create a shared mindset where people feel entitled to resources to build and maintain a web of healthy social relationships, displacing the current paradigm in which parents fear child welfare involvement and the stigma associated with asking for support; and non-parents question their role in preventing child abuse and neglect. To achieve ubiquitous access and promote feelings/beliefs of entitlement to child abuse and neglect prevention, they propose one option for implementation by leveraging existing infrastructure, increasing system collaboration and engaging experts in a population-based public health campaign to inoculate society against child abuse and neglect.

The award in the Research Category for Disruption went to a team of scientists and their paper entitled “Heed Neglect, Disrupt Child Maltreatment: A Call to Action for Researchers.”  Lindsey Bullinger of Georgia Tech; Megan Feely and Kerri Raissian from the University of Connecticut; and William Schneider from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign say the disruption of child maltreatment must prioritize neglect prevention. Moreover, a new approach of focusing on macro-level factors — such as economies, labor markets and governmental affairs — should be investigated. To inform new directions for child protection, they propose shifting the focus of research away from individual- and family-level factors of indicated populations. Instead, they suggest focusing on macro-level factors that, while receiving far less attention from researchers, show initial promise for understanding the causal pathways of neglect and identifying policies for universal prevention.

Three additional submissions received honorable mention:

  • Clinical Category for Disruption: Craig Cline on “The application of a social justice theory to the well-being of substance exposed infants.”

  • Prevention Category for Disruption: Debangshu Roygardner, Vince Palusci and Kelli Hughes on “Advancing Prevention Zones: Implementing Community-Based Strategies to Prevent Child Maltreatment and Promote Healthy Families.”

  • Research Category for Disruption: Sharon L. Christ, and Laura M. Schwab Reese on “Shedding the Constraints of Formal Systems in Research on Child Maltreatment through High Quality Measurement and Broad Population Surveys .” 

The researchers will present their projects at next month’s Summit on March 13 and March 14 in Denver. Media are invited to attend the event, which is being held at the Denver Renaissance Stapleton Hotel. A pre-conference session features a panel of Denver-area and national reporters who have covered child abuse for their news organizations. The researchers will join the media panel, along with conference attendees, for a discussion on child abuse news coverage. The conference is EndCAN’s first national summit, focused on collaboration and a united voice to end child abuse and neglect.  


The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect (EndCAN) is working to end child abuse and neglect in our lifetime by changing the perception of child abuse and neglect in our country as social and legal problems, to also being health, mental health and public health problems that can be treated. EndCAN helps survivors, thrivers and transcenders of abuse by uniting voices. The Foundation will work with others to dramatically expand funding for research, training and prevention.