Staff Spotlight: Tina Adkins, CFRI Research Associate

Learn more about Dr. Tina Adkins, CFRI Research Associate!

What are your professional areas of interest/ research interests?

I am very passionate about improving the child welfare system through quality research and interventions.  In particular, I believe that if you help a parent, you help a child.  Therefore, my favorite work involves supporting the needs of foster and adoptive parents.  I believe psychoanalytic theories and interventions are very powerful in helping parents better understand themselves and their reactions, as well as helping them create strong and secure attachments with traumatized children.

Current projects or one key project?

Family Minds in an attachment-based psych-educational intervention for foster and adoptive parents that I created during my PhD at University College London. It shows much promise in helping parents see inside the mind of their child and build resilient relationships.  I am presently in conversations with local agencies about being able to run a randomized controlled trial of this intervention so it can become evidenced-based.

Before working at UTCFRI what was the most unusual or interesting job you had?

While I was in grad school for my first Master’s degree, I was a Black Jack Dealer at several bars/clubs around Austin.  It was a bit odd because there was no gambling, people would just “pay to play.”  I got quite good at the game though.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you?

I have been to 21 countries and lived in the Middle East as a child and the UK as an adult. I’m quite adventurous and have ended up in some interesting scenarios such as being trapped in a car while bears tried to break in, riding a hot air balloon and going to Iceland just to see an avant-garde street performance troupe.

What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

I absolutely love the outdoors and enjoy hiking with my sweet husky every chance I get.

Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster? Why?

Oh my gosh – a tiny elephant of course! Because big animals that turn tiny are the cutest thing ever J Just imagine that tiny little trumpet sound it would make!


In the upcoming months, our social media platforms and the CFRI blog will be highlighting the staff and students of CFRI. Get to know us and learn more about the passionate people behind the quality research conducted by The Child & Family Research Institute that is used to guide policy and social work practice  #meetCFRI