Heather Taussig

Heather N. Taussig


What I do

Our field needs more innovative and contextually sensitive prevention programming for youth. My work focuses on developing and rigorously testing programs that promote positive youth development in multiple realms to foster healthy futures by nurturing youth's strengths.

Professional Biography

Heather Taussig, PhD, is a professor at the Graduate School of Social Work. She is also an adjunct professor at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Colorado.

Taussig's research focuses on developing and testing prevention programming for maltreated children with child welfare involvement. She developed and directs the Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) program, an evidence-based mentoring program for children in foster care that was developed and tested with funding from the National Institutes for Health. FHF is being disseminated through community-based organizations and a teen adaptation is being tested in a randomized controlled trial funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Taussig recently completed data collection for a 10-year longitudinal study of youth in foster care, funded by the National Institute of Justice. She is beginning a study of ecological factors and juvenile justice involvement among youth in foster care through funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Taussig's work includes research on youth mentoring, adolescent risk behaviors, dating violence and child welfare system outcomes.

Taussig currently serves on several review panels and community collaboratives as well as on the research board of the National Mentoring Resource Center. She served on Colorado Governor Ritter's Task Force on Foster Care and is an awardee for her work on child abuse and neglect from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, San Diego State Univ/Univ of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, 1998
  • AB, Psychology, Harvard University, 1992

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Featured Publications

  • Fostering healthy futures: an innovative preventive intervention for preadolescent youth in out-of-home care.
  • A Positive Youth Development Approach to Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Maltreated Children in Foster Care: Replication and Extension of an RCT of the Fostering Healthy Futures Program
  • RCT of a mentoring and skills group program: placement and permanency outcomes for foster youth.
  • Fostering Healthy Futures for Teens: Adaptation of an evidence-based program
  • Foster care and child well-being: A promise whose time has come


  • Outstanding Young Professional in the Field of Child Abuse and Neglect, International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Dean's Award for Exceptional Support and Commitment to Social Work Education, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work