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Kathi Harp '07 Wins Prestigious NIH Research Grant

April 30, 2011

95686April 30, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Kathi (Harland) Harp, a second year doctoral student at the University of Kentucky and 2007 graduate of DePauw University, is the recipient of a highly competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellows, which is presented by the NIH National Research Training Award program, will allow Harp to conduct sociological field research on substance abuse treatment programs for women and children.

With the award, Harp "will focus on understanding how custody loss is related to substance use and criminal behaviors among African-American mothers," note an announcement from UK. "While there is an abundance of research addressing health disparities and vulnerabilities among minority populations, there is limited scientific data available to help understand the effect of custody loss on a woman's subsequent substance use and crime. Harp's proposed project will examine 94748custody loss as a predictor of increased substance use and criminal behavior among African-American women."
"I am focusing on African-American women specifically because the child welfare system in the United States is disproportionately made up of African-American children," she says.  "I want to look at what effect losing custody has on a woman’s subsequent criminal behavior and substance use. While around 90 percent of state funds given to the child welfare system are used to fund foster care and adoption services, only a small percentage is used to fund reunification programs to keep families together. Knowing the dismal outcomes of children in the child welfare system, I'd like to do future research that shows the benefits to both women and children of programs that seek to rehabilitate women so that they can eventually regain custody of their children if they so desire."
Read more here.