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DuncanD. F. Duncan is a Research Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) School of Social Work where he has taught courses in welfare reform, data analysis, program evaluation, and research methods. He will serve as Principal Investigator (PI) on this project. In that role, he will be responsible for overall management of the project and the quality of the deliverables. He will be the primary contact with the Federal Project Officer (FPO). He will work with the partners and stakeholders from across the state in the creation of the Advisory Board, the development on the Comprehensive Strategic Plan, and the implementation of pilot interventions. He will conduct the data mining and data analysis of existing data sources to develop valid and reliable estimates of the number of child welfare-involved youth who are victims of trafficking. He also will be involved in dissemination activities. Since joining the UNC faculty in 1997, he has directed studies on child welfare, welfare reform, Medicaid, homelessness, and the Food Stamp program. Currently, he is directing the evaluation of a project funded by the Children’s Bureau designed to move North Carolina to a trauma-informed child welfare system. In addition, Dr. Duncan is the PI on a multi-year project assessing the outcomes of children involved with the child welfare system as well as a project tracking the experiences of families and individuals who have received cash assistance in North Carolina. Dr. Duncan also led the data analysis development of the state’s Continuous Quality Improvement process, Reaching Excellence and Accountability in Practice (REAP).

Dr. Duncan and other project staff developed a website to provide DSS staff across the state with easy access to findings on the outcomes and experiences of children, families, and individuals they assist. Dr. Duncan directed the cost-effectiveness evaluation of a multi-site supportive housing initiative for chronically homeless individuals. He served as Task Leader of the cost-benefit evaluation of North Carolina’s IV-E waiver demonstration project. Dr. Duncan also served as Co-PI of a project funded by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of US-DHHS through the Urban Institute to examine the earnings of foster youth from the time they age out of foster care through their mid-twenties.


StewartJoy Stewart, Research Assistant Professor, has over 12 years of experience conducting research and evaluation of social services programs. On this project, Ms. Stewart will direct the evaluation. She is the PI on a project involving the linking of information from the state’s Court Improvement Project with administrative data from the child welfare system. Prof. Stewart is an investigator on Project Broadcast, a federally funded project to improve the well-being of children and families through the development of a trauma-informed child welfare system. She also serves as an analyst and evaluator for the Management Assistance project, which is an ongoing assessment of social services programs in North Carolina. She also served as the lead evaluator of the North Carolina Child Welfare Workforce Collaborative, a 5-year federally funded project to prepare graduate students for leadership roles in child welfare and assess child welfare workforce needs. She has conducted child welfare research for more than 7 years.


Kiricka Yarbough Smith provides training and technical assistance to service providers as well as resources and referrals to survivors of human trafficking. She will serve as an investigator on this project. She will assist in the creation of the Advisory Board, the development of the Comprehensive Strategic Plan, and the implementation of the pilot interventions. She also will be involved in the dissemination of findings. She also serves on the Executive Committee of The NC Coalition against Human Trafficking (NCCAHT) and co-chairs the NCCAHT committee to develop and implement Human Trafficking Rapid Response Teams across the state. She is also a member of Partner’s Against the Trafficking of Humans. Ms. Smith currently serves as a faculty member for the US Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women and Futures Without Violence project; her work focuses on building collaboration to address trafficking in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. She has also partnered with the Children Advocacy Centers of NC to develop and implement a domestic minor sex trafficking curriculum. She will spend 2.4 months on the project each year.


VaughnJennie Vaughn, MSW, is a clinical assistant professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She serves as an investigator on several projects analyzing the usage and effectiveness of program and services for vulnerable populations, including foster children and victims of human trafficking. Ms. Vaughn’s research interests include child welfare policy, trauma-informed systems and services, and homelessness.





Erin Conner is a Social Services Program Consultant in child welfare policy at the North Carolina Division of Social Services. She will serve as the child welfare liaison to NC DSS. She will assist in the coordination of project activities and efforts underway at NC DSS as well as with other state agencies. She received her bachelor of social work degree from Appalachian State University (December 2008), where she was a scholar of the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative.

Mrs. Conner has worked as an intake social worker in Children’s Services and as a social worker in Child Protective Services Assessments at the Harnett County (NC) DSS. After working for 3 years in the public child welfare system, she returned to school to pursue a master’s in social work the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; she completed her MSW in 2013 with a concentration in Community Management and Policy Practice and a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership.

Mrs. Conner has been employed with the North Carolina Division of Social Services (NC DSS) since July 2013. Among other responsibilities, she is working to assess and implement ways in which the state and local child welfare agencies can be more responsive to the needs of children and youth in North Carolina who have experienced any form of trafficking and exploitation. Mrs. Conner has experience engaging diverse stakeholder groups, and currently participates in many multidisciplinary groups, including groups that focus on child welfare issues, and groups addressing human trafficking among all age and demographic groups within North Carolina. The goals and objectives of this project nearly parallel Mrs. Conner’s responsibilities at NC DSS, and the two overlap extensively. As a result, it is not feasible to identify the percentage of time Mrs. Conner will spend on project activities and what percentage will be spent on NC DSS responsibilities.




Robin Colbert is the Associate Director of NCCASA and an awarding winning Executive, Program Manager, Administrator, and Leader with over 30 years of experience in program development, multiple program management and project implementation with an emphasis in strategic planning, policy development and implementation, and financial management.

Robin is the former Assistant Director for the NC Department of Administration’s Council for Women where she reorganized and implemented processes and established procedures for the overall grants management and monitoring operational activities to ensure compliance of performance, spending, and administration of $10 million of state grant funds.

Robin previously managed the activities of North Carolina Department of Justice, Victim & Citizens Services Section’s, Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).  ACP helps victims keep domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking & stalking perpetrators from discovering their new address.

Robin is celebrating her 6th year as the Associate Director of the North Carolina Coalition

Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA), where she developed and implemented, grant processes, procedures and financial reporting for first ever Federal funding (Sexual Assault Services Program) for direct services for sexual assault victim. Robin manages NCCASA’s Programmatic internal operations & develops systems, realigns agency functions to improve overall agency technical assistance, training & member service response.

Robin serves  on the Executive Committee of the NC Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking’s (NCCAHT) as a member of the Training & Education Team; the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Victims Assistance Network (NCVAN),  and the Advisory Board of  Strong Fathers Durham.

Robin has a dedicated record of service and has been awarded for leadership, innovation, and collaboration with partners and stakeholders and is respected for integrity, perseverance, and consensus building.