As a research and service office located on the Ball State campus, the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) has had a successful history providing high quality and productive services for a variety of sponsors. The SSRC has administered numerous service projects of varying scope, from local influence, to statewide initiatives. Presented here are some examples of the more recent service projects promoting evidence-based, best practices for statewide child welfare services as well as student services at Ball State and the greater Muncie community.
The Guardian Scholars Program (2004-Present)
The Guardian Scholars Program is a post-secondary support and access program for current and former foster youth attending Ball State, or select Ivy Tech campuses in East-Central Indiana. Established in 2004 with external funding, the Guardian Scholars Program continues to be housed in the SSRC. A multi-pronged sustainability plan was put in place to continue the program, which includes support from foundations, and identifying key donors and alumni who are concerned about social justice issues and students with unique needs. In addition, Ball State and the SSRC continues to assist the program with dedicated office space, technology needs, and overhead.
Indiana Youth Advisory Board (2009-2011)
Through a contract with the Indiana Department of Child Services (IDCS), the SSRC facilitated Indiana's statewide Independent Living Youth Advisory Board (IYAB). Composed of eligible youth from the 18 state regions, the IYAB gave youth an opportunity to practice leadership skills, attend and participate in state and national conferences, learn advocacy skills, and provide feedback to DCS staff, service providers and policymakers regarding issues facing young people experiencing out-of-home care in the state of Indiana.
Regional Child Welfare Services Coordinators (1985-2010)
Sponsored by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), the SSRC provided Regional Child Welfare Services Coordination services for multiple counties in Indiana. Assistance was provided to multiple state regions, where the SSRC assisted local offices of the DCS and Regional Councils in the development, fiscal monitoring, and evaluation of child welfare services. The SSRC acted as a liaison and ombudsman between the DCS and contracted service providers.
Indiana Independent Living Initiative (2001-2009)
This externally-funded service project for the SSRC involved assisting the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) in managing initiatives to develop Independent Living services in Indiana. The SSRC developed and continued strong partnerships with active providers of child welfare services and policies, planned and coordinated a series of annual Indiana Independent Living Youth Conferences for youth and their direct service providers/foster parents, planned and coordinated an annual series of all-day computer workshops for eligible youth that received and were instructed on how to use a brand-new computer and multi-function printer (with relevant software including Microsoft Office Suite and anti-virus protection). The SSRC also conducted an innovative statewide survey of foster youth in Indiana who were preparing to exit the foster care system to identify the needs and services that were applicable to help guide policies to ensure these young people became successful members of their community.
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