Strengthening Children's Lives Through Science and Community Engagement



Juniper Gardens Pioneers
R. Vance Hall Richard
Todd Risley Betty Hart


The Juniper Gardens Children's Project was originally conceived in the mid 1960's during the Kennedy administration and continued during the Johnson administration's War on Poverty, and is still in operation today. Citizens of Northeast Kansas City, Kansas joined with faculty members from the University of Kansas' Departments of Special Education, Health Science, Human Development and Family Life, and the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies in order to address child development concerns within a low-income community (Hall, Schiefelbusch, Hoyt, & Greenwood, 1989).

Because of its mission and direct impact on academic and social outcomes of children in the local community and beyond, Mayor Mark Holland issued a proclamation in 2015 honoring Juniper Garden's 50+ years of service to the community. 


Strengthening Families through Community Partnerships

Families living in deprived urban areas perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty; from poor rearing practices to inadequate school adjustment usually expressed in the form of academic failures and behavior problems that lead to early school dropouts, delinquent behavior, early pregnancies and/or unstable families. These new families are very soon added to the already staggering number of individuals supported by welfare programs, resulting in a further drain on the community and involving poor prognosis for self-improvement.

These shared intentions of the community and the University are still in operation. Today, as in the 1960's, poverty and disability remain barriers to life improvement for too many area citizens. Together, the community and the University have designed programs to intervene and improve the caregiving and special education received by children in this community. The initial founders, and those that have since followed, were successful in securing long-term federal funding for a number of research, training, and service grants, all based in the community and conducted with the active participation of the community residents. The disproportionate number of minorities affected by poverty and its association with unemployment, illiteracy, under-education, and poor health remains of great interest today, and new national and local initiatives to improve urban economies, environments, education, and health continue (as reflected in the Empowerment Zone effort of the Clinton Administration) as JGCP researches solutions to these problems.

Among several honors afforded the Project was the invitation to describe the history, contribution, and work of JGCP within a special issue of the journal, Education and Treatment of Children [1], a synthesis of research published [2] in the American Psychologist and the 1996 Research Award from the [3] Council for Exceptional Children.

Since its beginning, JGCP has concentrated on problems identified by local citizens (parents, teachers, and community leaders). That JGCP has persisted successfully in the community is testament to the fact that it has produced outcomes meaningful to the community. The effort has also been at the forefront and the crossroads of major developments in the conceptual frameworks, procedures, and practices used in the fields of applied behavior analysis and special education. Many of the early founders and participants at JGCP were pioneering (R. Vance Hall, Betty Hart, Todd Risley, Richard Whelan, Montrose Wolf) in that they demonstrated designs and practices that made measurable differences in the lives of children, particularly when parents and teachers implemented the interventions in the home, school, clinic, and other community settings. These demonstrations, once unique, today are commonplace, and they are reflected in many aspects of contemporary special education policies and practices including, for example: the Individual Education Plan and Individual Family Service Plans, functional assessment of challenging behavior, environmental assessment, peer-mediated instruction, behavior management, early intervention, inclusion, Response to Intervention, data-based decision making, transition, among others.

Children's Campus of Kansas City

Charles R. Greenwood, Director

In 2010, Juniper Gardens relocated to the top floor of the Children’s Campus of Kansas City building (CCKC), where our research has continued and has spawned several areas of new research. Our mission remains intact as we promote children’s social competence and academic achievement by improving the quality of their care and educational experiences through evidence-based practices. As one of the three tenant agencies in the CCKC building, we have formed new collaborative partnerships with community agencies, organizations, schools, and individuals to help identify problems and generate solutions. Along with the Family Conservancy and Project EAGLE, we have collaborated to make the CCKC a one stop, full service entity for young children and their families in the urban Kansas City area. JGCP’s current and ongoing research includes our Kansas Center for Autism (K-CART), interventions to improve school readiness, using Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) measures for the very young, using mobile devices to enhance parenting intervention for at risk families, using class-wide function-based interventions to improve academic outcomes, and parent-mediated strategies to promote infant-toddler language growth, just to name a few.



  1. Education and Treatment of Children, 1989, Volume 12, Issue 4.
  2. Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., Hart, B., Kamps, D., Terry, B., Arreaga-Mayer, C., ... & Delquadri, J. C. (1992). Out of the laboratory and into the community: 26 years of applied behavior analysis at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project. American Psychologist, 47(11), 1464.
  3. Greenwood, C. R. (1999). Reflections on a research career: Perspective on 35 years of research at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project. Exceptional Children, 66(1), 7-21.

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Biggest of congratulations to our PIs and staff on making it through another IES grant season! These applications r…