Barbara Ball, Ph.D., LPC-AT, Research Scientist


“I am passionate about developing and coordinating research and programs at the community level so that children and youth have the opportunity to develop positive relationships, succeed academically and live healthy lives.”

Dr. Ball is a Research Scientist at the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin. Her work over the past 20 years has been devoted to supporting children and youth who have experienced violence and abuse, trauma and adversity. She is a Co-Principal Investigator for the Texas Youth Permanency Study (TYPS) and the Texas Foster Youth Health Initiative (TFYHI). TFYHI is a statewide learning community that builds connections across child welfare and adolescent health systems to promote optimal health for child welfare-involved youth. Information and skill-building efforts target youth and their caregivers, promote brave conversations about sexual health and healthy relationships, and increase capacity in organizations and communities.

Prior to joining the institute she worked for 15 years at the SAFE Alliance in Austin where she was responsible for developing program materials, curricula and trainings, and coordinated the evaluation of Expect Respect, a comprehensive program to reduce dating and sexual violence and promote healthy relationships. She believes in the importance of strong, supportive relationships as an essential factor for increasing resilience and positive developmental outcomes. Her passion is in bridging research and practice and in improving systems, including schools, foster care, and mental health to help children thrive. Dr. Ball earned a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and a Doctorate in Art Education at New York University. Her previous experience includes developing an art therapy program in a New York public school, working as a group home therapist in California, and teaching and supervising graduate art therapy students.

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