Steve Tran - Research Specialist

Steve Tran

Steve Tran, Research Specialist

The Children & Family Research Center
School of Social Work, University of Illinois
1010 W. Nevada, Suite 2080
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 300-7205

Educational/Professional Background
Dr. Steve P. Tran received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Jose State University in 2008. He then came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned his master’s degree in Human and Community Development in 2012 and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies in 2016. Steve’s past research has examined immigrant and ethnic minority children and families, acculturation, globalization, family autonomy and relatedness, family resilience, and child and family well-being, and he joined the Children and Family Research Center as a Research Specialist in 2017.

Research/Practice Interests
Steve’s research interests broadly include the study of immigrant/ethnic minority youth and families, acculturation, globalization, and child and family well-being.

Current Projects
At CFRC, Steve is part of the research teams for the annual Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree, Illinois Child Death Review Teams, and the Child Well-Being Study.

Sep 2021 / Report / Simulation Training Evaluation    

FY2021 Program Evaluation of the Child Protection Training Academy for New DCFS Investigators

Ted Cross, Yu-Ling Chiu, Shufen Wang, Laura Lee, Steve Tran, and Kirsten Havig

In FY2021, the Children and Family Research Center’s (CFRC) evaluation team again used multiple sub-studies to examine the implementation and outcomes of simulation training for new child protection investigators in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service. This is an important time historically to study simulation training because of the effect of COVID-19 on trainees, their work and the training itself. Chapter 1 summarizes CTPA’s implementation in 2021: adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic through virtual methods, training supervisors in problem-based learning, and re-formatting investigator training. Chapter 2 presents results from the Daily Experience of Simulation Training (DEST) measure. The measure was designed to examine change in trainees’ confidence over the course of simulation training. This is an important time to assess DEST results, because of changes in simulation training during FY2021, as discussed in the Introduction. Chapter 3 offers updated results from a post-training satisfaction survey. The chapter reports trainees’ satisfaction ratings for simulation training over this time period. It also provides qualitative results from the analysis of open-ended items in the post-training satisfaction survey. Chapter 4 examines whether simulation training is related to employee turnover. Using two different analytic methods, it asks whether investigators trained using simulation training have stayed in their jobs longer than investigators who were not provided simulation training. Chapter 5 examines the relationship of simulation training to child safety. We compared sim-trained and non-sim-trained investigators on the likelihood that children in their investigations were involved in re-reports to DCFS. The last chapter provides the conclusion of this year’s evaluation and recommendations for improving the program.

Aug 2021 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    

Examining Child Deaths in Illinois: Highlights from the FY2021 Child Death Review Team Annual Report

Steve Tran and Tamara Fuller

This research brief highlights the findings from the most recent CDRT annual report on child deaths that occurred in Illinois in 2019. The brief presents summary information about child deaths in Illinois by age, race, and by the category and manner of death, as well as examples of CDRT recommendations to prevent child deaths.

Aug 2021 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    

Trends in Illinois Child Deaths Between 2010 and 2019

Steve Tran and Tamara Fuller

This research brief uses data from the annual CDRT reports to examine trends in child deaths between 2010 and 2019. The brief describes trends in total child deaths by child age, manner and category of death, as well as programs and initiatives in the state to prevent and reduce child deaths.

Aug 2021 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    

Infant Deaths During Sleep in 2019

Steve Tran and Bernadette Emery

Many of the reviews conducted by the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs) involve unsafe sleep, and for the past several years they have has sought to bring increased attention to infant deaths due to unsafe sleep. The Illinois Child Death Review conducted a detailed examination of these deaths by child race/ethnicity, gender, age, sleeping position, and the locations and environments of the deaths. This brief highlights the findings of these analyses.

Mar 2021 / Research Brief / Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System    

Another Look at the Resilience of Children and Youth in DCFS Care: New Findings from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study

Steve Tran, Soonhyung Kwon, and Theodore Cross

The 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study found that many children and youth in out-of-home care in the state have significant developmental, physical, emotional, behavioral and/or educational challenges. However, some children in the study are capable of functioning well at home and school, despite the trauma of abuse and neglect and the difficulties of living in out-of-home care. We used measures from the study to examine how frequently children and youth functioned well across multiple measures. We found that many Illinois children and youth in out-of-home care demonstrated behavioral, emotional and educational resilience across multiple measures of functioning. Child welfare practice needs to take into account children and youth’s resilience and build on their strengths.

Feb 2021 / Report    

Child Welfare Workforce Task Force: Literature Review, Employer Survey, and Recommendations

Laura Lee, Steve Tran, Michael Braun, Robin LaSota, and Tamara Fuller

Public Act 100-0879, enacted in August 2018, created a bi-partisan task force to: 1) study the compensation and workload of child welfare workers, 2) determine the role that these factors play in the recruitment and retention of the child welfare workers, and 3) determine the role that staff turnover plays in achieving safety and timely permanence for children. The Children and Family Research Center assisted the task force by conducting a literature review of the factors that impact child welfare worker retention and implementing a survey of all child welfare employers within Illinois to examine the role that compensation and other factors have on retention. This report contains the findings of the literature review and survey, as well as the recommendations that the task force made to improve child welfare retention.

Feb 2021 / Journal Publication / Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System    

The Relationship of Needs Assessed at Entry Into Out-of-Home Care to Children and Youth’s Later Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Care

Theodore Cross, Steve Tran, Eliza Betteridge, Robert Hjertquist, Tawny Spinelli , Jennifer Prior, and Neil Jordan

Screening children who are entering out-of-home care is widely implemented but not thoroughly studied. Using a sample from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, This study examines whether emotional and behavioral needs identified by an Integrated Assessment (IA) at entry predict needs and services while in care. Data from the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) measure completed in the IA were combined with data from a point-in-time study of the well-being of children in out-of-home care. Logistic regression analyses found that having a need identified at entry predicted having a similar need and receiving mental health services during out-of-home care (p < .05 to p < .001). The relationship did not diminish with length of time in care; IA CANS predicted needs and services even for children in out-of-home care for many years. These results provide evidence for the validity of the IA CANS for screening for children’s needs in out-of-home care. The persistence of problems suggests the value of baseline screening as a guide for service delivery throughout children’s stay in care, and the need for more effective mental health services specially tailored for children in out-of-home care.

Cross, T., Tran, S., Betteridge, E., Hjertquist, R., Spinelli, T., Prior, J., & Jordan, N. (2021). The relationship of needs assessed at entry into out-of-home care to children and youth’s later emotional and behavioral problems in care. Children and Youth Services Review, 122(2021).
Oct 2020 / Research Brief / Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System    

How Frequently Do Young Children in DCFS Care Receive Early Childhood Education? Findings from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study

Ted Cross, Steve Tran, and Soonhyung Kwon

Considerable research has shown that early childhood education can contribute to children’s school readiness and later academic achievement and well-being. Early childhood education is particularly important for children in out-of-home care. Many young Illinois children in out-of-home care through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services lag in development and many older children in out-of-home care have problems succeeding at school. This brief examines how frequently children in this age group in IDCFS care receive early childhood education, using data from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study.

Oct 2020 / Research Brief / Well-Being of Children Involved with the Child Welfare System    

Sexual Victimization and Sexual Behavior of Children and Youth in DCFS Care: Findings from the 2017 Illinois Child Well-Being Study

Theodore Cross, Soonhyung Kwon, and Steve Tran

Studies have found that a substantial proportion of youth in out-of-home care have been the victims of sexual violence, and that troubling percentages of these youth engage in risky sexual behaviors. This brief uses data from the 2017 Illinois Study of Child Well-Being to examine the sexual experiences of Illinois youth in out-of-home care. In this brief, we focus on the following variables: having sexual intercourse, having non-consensual sexual intercourse (and age at first intercourse), using protection while having sex, becoming pregnant (for girls) or getting someone pregnant (for boys), having children, and receiving family planning services. The results underlines the need for foster parents and child welfare workers to be aware of youths’ sexual behavior and make sure that youth have the knowledge to deal with their sexuality responsibly.

Oct 2020 / Research Brief / Safety and Risk    

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths During Sleep

Steve Tran and Bernadette Emery

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths were the 3rd leading cause of death of children in Illinois in 2018, and many of the deaths reviewed by the CDRTs were sleep related. The CDRT Executive Council and CDRTs therefore requested additional information on these deaths in the 2018 Child Death Review Teams annual report. This brief highlights findings from the special chapter on Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths During Sleep from the 2018 annual report.

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