Skip Navigation

2018 Symposium

January 25, 2018

Oklahoma Early Childhood Research Symposium

The Power of Parenting: Effective Strategies for

Supporting Oklahomans Living in Poverty 



OPSR, once again, successfully brought together those who care for and work with families and children to improve and increase investments in early childhood at our annual symposium. In 2018, we focused on “The Power of Parenting,” highlighting research and programs that can improve outcomes for children and their families experiencing poverty. 

Keynote presenters included Jacqueline Counts, University of Kansas, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, director; and Kristen Slack, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work, professor.


Keynote Speakers

Jackie Counts

Jacqueline Counts, M.S.W., Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Public Partnerships & Research. She received her training at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Kansas. Before returning to the University of Kansas, she was the Region VII Project Officer for the Early Childhood Health and Development Branch of the Maternal Child Health Bureau of Health Resources and Services Administration. Jacqueline has been the principal investigator on numerous early childhood, systems-building, accountability and evaluation projects, including the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems evaluation, Project LAUNCH, Community-based Child Abuse and Neglect, several National Governors Association early childhood grants, and others. She was one of the developers of the Protective Factors Survey and Lemonade for Life. At CPPR, Jackie is an activator, sparking ideas and inspiring staff toward action and solutions. She keeps work focused and on track, but isn’t confined by linear thinking. Some of her most outside-of-the box ideas come to her while riding her bike or Crossfitting.

Kristen Slack

Kristen Shook Slack, A.M., Ph.D., focuses her research on understanding the role of poverty and economic hardship in the etiology of child maltreatment, with a particular emphasis on child neglect. She is also interested in the caseload dynamics of child welfare systems in relation to other public benefit systems, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and in community-based programs designed to prevent child maltreatment. Her work advances approaches to better coordinating services and benefits to effectively address the economic needs of families at risk for child maltreatment, and improved assessment strategies for identifying risks and protective factors related to child neglect. Her research is primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


Champion for Children

Bob Harbison

Bob Harbison was selected for this special award for his over 20 years of advocacy and leadership in support of early childhood in Oklahoma. By influencing legislation and seeking funding, Bob has been directly involved in notable state-wide early childhood initiatives, such as OPSR and universal pre-K.  



Couldn’t make it but want to learn more? Just click on any topic that interests you for a PDF of that presentation.

Supporting and Engaging Families Living in Poverty: Understanding the Complex Barriers Families Face and Improving Marketing Strategies
  • Lana Beasley, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science Oklahoma State University
Positive Parenting in the Face of Early Adversity: Does it Really Matter?
  • David Bard, CMRI Endowed Research Chair, Director, Biomedical& Behavioral Methodology Core, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
How Do We Understand the Experience of Poverty? Making Meaning and Seeking Solutions 
  • Jacqueline Counts, Director, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas
  • Amy Smith, Assistant Director, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas
  • Jenny Welch Buller, Research Project Coordinator, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas
  • Jessica Looze, Assistant Director, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas
  • Sara O'Keefe, Graphic Recorder, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas
Can We Prevent Child Maltreatment by Addressing Poverty? On the Cusp of an Answer
  • Kristen Shook Slack, School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison



Thank you!

We couldn’t do it without you! Thank you to all the following organizations for their continued support of OPSR and our mission to improve school readiness.



  • Arnall Family Foundation
  • Chesapeake Energy
  • George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Inasmuch Foundation
  • Oklahoma Department of Human Services
  • News 9
  • Potts Family Foundation
  • TSET
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • University of Central Oklahoma