Joe Ryan’s research and teaching build upon his direct practice experiences with child welfare and juvenile justice populations. Dr. Ryan is the Co-Director of the Child and Adolescent Data, an applied research center focused on using big data to drive policy and practice decisions in the field. Dr. Ryan is currently involved with several studies including a randomized clinical trial of recovery coaches for substance abusing parents in Illinois (AODA Demonstration), a foster care placement prevention study for young children in Michigan (MiFamily Demonstration), a Pay for Success (social impact bonds) study focused on high risk adolescents involved with the Illinois child welfare and juvenile justice system and a study of the educational experiences of youth in foster care (Kellogg Foundation Education and Equity). Dr. Ryan is committed to building strong University and State partnerships that utilize big data and data visualization tools to advance knowledge and address critical questions in the fields of child welfare and juvenile justice.
Alter’s research grows out of interests in the history of the family, demography, and economic history, and recent projects have examined the effects of early life conditions on health in old age and new ways of describing fertility transitions. He was a founding member of the Eurasia Project on Population and Family History, which compares demographic responses to economic stress in five historical European and Asian societies. He is also co-author of a new system for sharing data and methods for the analysis of life histories from historical sources.