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Sonya M. Ulrich

Research Analyst II, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy


Sonya Ulrich is a research analyst who has been with the Center for Child and Family Policy since 2011. She is currently working on several ongoing program evaluations, including:

  • The Alamance Alliance for Children and Families, a SAMHSA-funded, six-year cooperative initiative awarded to the Alamance County Department of Social Services. The program’s goal is to create a System of Care infrastructure to help children birth through 5 years old with serious social-emotional difficulties and their families. The evaluation includes comprehensive longitudinal and costs and services studies, as well as local data collection activities and analyses designed to inform programmatic decisions and assist with quality of care improvements.
  • BECOMING Durham, a SAMHSA-funded, six-year cooperative initiative awarded to Alliance Behavioral Healthcare in order to develop a System of Care program for transition-age youth with mental health challenges and/or other risk factors. The evaluation includes longitudinal and costs and services studies, as well as local data collection and analyses to inform programmatic decisions and guide quality of care.
  • Partnering for Excellence, a program funded by Duke Endowment to improve the integration of child mental health services into child welfare. The goal is to redesign how child welfare and mental health systems interact so they can provide trauma-informed services, improve child outcomes, and reduce residential and foster-care placements.
  • The East Durham Children’s Initiative, which provides multiple services and supports for children who reside in a 120-block area east of downtown Durham, N.C. The goal is to improve academic achievement so that children successfully complete college or vocational training programs. The evaluation measures and tracks the effects of these programs on child well-being and educational outcomes in order to assess quality of programming and foster continuous quality improvement.
  • Book Babies, a program developed by Book Harvest that provides Medicaid-eligible children and their families with age-appropriate books every six months from birth until the start of kindergarten. The goal of the program is to provide books and guidance for parents so they can help develop their children’s pre-literacy and school-readiness skills in order to promote success in kindergarten and beyond.

Ulrich studied psychology at the University of Iowa where she assisted with research projects studying early intervention programs for young children with severe emotional and behavioral challenges. She received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Florida where she studied intervention programs for children and adults with emotional and behavioral difficulties.


M.S. in Experimental Psychology, University of Florida
B.S. Psychology University of Iowa