DEBORAH DARO
PhD, Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley
Senior Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
ddaro@chapinhall.org

Deborah Daro, (Ph.D., Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley) has played a key role in the development and assessment of evidence-based home visitation programs for the past 30 years and has worked with Federal administrators and Congressional leaders in crafting guidelines for the Federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Program (MIECHV) passed as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Prior to joining Chapin Hall in January 1999, Dr. Daro contributed to the development of Healthy Families America (HFA), one of the 17 evidence-based national home visiting models supported under MIECHV. She currently co-facilitates the National Alliance of Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs, a collaborative of six national home visiting models committed to improving practice and creating effective networks of supports for newborns and their parents.

Dr. Daro developed and currently chairs the Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Trust. Established in 2010, the fellowship’s ongoing implementation is guided by three core operational objectives: (a) selecting individuals with the skills, passion, and institutional support necessary for sustaining long-term professional involvement in the field; (b) selecting cohorts of fellows that collectively represent a diverse group of scholars in terms of their backgrounds, disciplines, research interests, and technical expertise; and (c) creating an active, self-generating learning network among the fellows through ongoing web-based conferences, annual meetings and other opportunities for informal meetings at related national conferences, and shared research projects. During its initial six years, the fellowship has selected 90 young scholars from across the country, with plans to select an additional 30 fellows by 2018.

Dr. Daro served as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM)’s) Committee on Child Maltreatment Research, Policy and Practice for the Next Decade. This study, released in September 2013, provides research recommendations aimed at improving the public policy and programmatic response to child maltreatment.

With over 40 years of experience in evaluating child abuse treatment and prevention programs and child welfare reform efforts, her program assessments blend quantitative and qualitative components, resulting in findings that have both statistical and program relevance. Most recently, Dr. Daro’s research and writing have focused on developing reform strategies that embed individualized, targeted prevention efforts within more universal efforts to alter normative standards and community context. She also is examining strategies to create more effective partnerships among public child welfare agencies, community-based prevention efforts, and informal support systems. For the past several years, Dr. Daro has assisted a number of state and local entities in developing more integrated systems of early intervention that build on a system of universal as well as targeted home-based interventions. Current and past clients include Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, FL , the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, Thrive by Five Seattle and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Community Action Project in Tulsa, OK. 

Dr. Daro is currently working with the First 5 Commission in Los Angeles County to identify a system of home based interventions and related services for implementation in 14 of the county’s highest risk communities. This process has involved the articulation of a set of best practice standards to guide all direct service investment decisions, the development of a universal assessment and referral process to reach all new parents within the target communities, and the development of appropriate data management systems to track implementation and to foster continuous program improvement.

Dr. Daro received the 2016 APSAC William Friedrich Memorial Award in recognition of her significant contributions to improving child abuse prevention policy and practice and commitment to supporting emerging scholars addressing child maltreatment. In 2004, Dr. Daro received the Anne Cohn Donnelly Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Award from Prevent Child Abuse America in recognition of her success in translating research finding into measurable improvements in service delivery and public policy reforms. She has served as President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and as Treasurer and Executive Council member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.