The primary focus of my work at Arizona State University is improving the effectiveness of social work practice and services. I am committed to building knowledge about effective social work practice. My research, teaching and service are directed toward this overarching goal.
My recent research has been focused around three areas:
I have been conducting research in the field of home visitation for over 20 years. Beginning in 1991 when I began a program evaluation of the Arizona Healthy Families Program. This ongoing work eventually led to a quasi-experimental study of the program (Krysik, J., & LeCroy (2007), The evaluation of Healthy Families Arizona: A multi-site home visitation program. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 34, 109-128), and more recently a randomized controlled trial (LeCroy, C. W. & Krysik, J. (2011), Randomized trial of the healthy families Arizona home visiting program, Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1761-1766) and currently a replication of the RCT being funded by the Children’s Bureau. Other studies in this area include a qualitative study of participants perceptions of home visitation services and a study of how home visitors assess ‘difficult situations’ in their work. I have worked with the National Organization Prevent Child Abuse for many years serving on the accreditation committee and on the Practice-Research Collaboration of Prevent Child Abuse.
Youth Development and Children’s Mental Health
In the late 90’s my students and I began conducting small groups with at-risk middle school students with support from a federal grant. Toward the end of that project we focused on what was working most effectively and that led us to consider the potential impact of gender-specific groups for early adolescent girls. We launched a series of these groups and began to build a curriculum for a universal primary prevention program for girls. After pilot tests, focus groups, and exploratory research we refined the prevention model and began early testing. After a series of quasi-experimental studies and an experimental study I finalized the Go Grrrls curriculum, wrote a popular book about the program, Empowering Adolescent Girls (W.W. Norton), and a curriculum workbook, The Go Grrrls Workbook (with co-author Jan Daley). The program is recognized by the Rand Corporation as an effective practice. We have conducted trainings on the program both nationally and internationally. Recently I presented the program in South Korea at the 1st World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women with a theme of “Sharing Together: A Sustainable Global Partnership for Gender Equality and Young Women’s Empowerment” sponsored by Duksung Women’s University and UN Women. Other related work has been an ongoing interest in evidence-based practice with children and adolescents see Handbook of Evidence-Based Treatment Manuals with Children and Adolescents. My latest book is Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Survival. This book is the culmination of work I began several years ago and is based on extensive interviews I have conducted with parents of mentally ill children.
I have had a long standing interest in research methodology and the evaluation of social work practice. One the first articles I published after finishing my Ph.D. was “methodological issues in the evaluation of Social Work practice” (Social Service Review, 1985, 59, 345-357). More recent work has focused on measurement issues in the evaluation of social work practice. My work to evaluate programs led to a review and critique of measurement issues in home visitation (See, LeCroy, Craig W., & Krysik, J. (2010). Measurement Issues in home visitation. Child and Youth Services Review, 32, 1483-1486). This review also led to the development of an outcome instrument that could be used to both evaluate home visitation services and provide relevant clinical feedback for home visitors (See, Kryisk, J., & LeCroy, C. W. (2012), The Development and Initial Validation of an Outcome Measure for Home Visitation: The Healthy Families Parenting Inventory. Infant Mental Health, 33, 496-505). I also have an interest in an overall critique of knowledge-building for social work practice. For example, I described the limitations of evidence based practice (Adams, K.B., Matto, H.C. & LeCroy, C.W. (2009), Limitations of Evidence-Based Practice for social work education: Unpacking the complexity, Journal of Social Work Education, 45(2), 165-186), discussed understanding and interpreting effect sizes in the evaluation of social work practice (See Social Work Research, 31, 243-248), and critiqued the current knowledge building efforts in social work (LeCroy, Craig W. (2010), Knowledge building and Social Work Research: A critical perspective, Research on Social Work Practice, 20, 321-324).