University faculty and community residents forged a partnership beginning in 1964 that established a research center located in the community (See History). Because of its mission to improve the academic and social achievements of children in the community, the 50-year program of the Juniper Gardens Children's Project has focused substantially on research on practice (parenting, teaching, and caregiving). Research was conducted designed to improve the, care, teaching and services received by youth with and without disabilities within the urban, culturally diverse community that is Northeast Kansas City, KS.
Over the years, the research has been supported by more than 60 large and small project grants from Federal and State agencies, and private foundations. For example, Juniper Gardens Children's Project researchers have had a series of five 5-year program project grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Juniper Gardens Children's Project has had a series of Centers including Early Childhood Research Institutes, Institute on Neglect, and a K-3 Reading and Behavior Center funded by the US Department of Education and the NICHD.
These projects were often multi-investigator and multi-site research programs. Individual investigator projects have ranged from field-initiated research, technology innovation research, outreach, and doctoral and post-doctoral leadership personnel preparation projects. This work collectively, has crossed a number of categories and disciplines including: children at risk due to poverty and other environmental hazards (i.e., prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol), mental retardation, early childhood, learning disabilities, cultural diversity (i.e., limited English proficiency, multicultural special education), behavior disorders, and autism/developmental disabilities.
The impact of this work, past and present, can be seen in the scientific and professional literatures of behavior analysis, special education, early education and early childhood special education, education, and psychology, in personnel preparation, and in the practices and policies of special education. In the section that follows, we describe the impact of the Juniper Gardens Children's Project within five major areas: