Dr. Sites has spent her career focused on the realities of stressors in children’s lives and the need to provide programming that would promote their optimal development. She has utilized her training in child development, child care administration, parent education and rights, child welfare, and the impact of disabilities to develop successful programs. Early in her career, she became aware of the issues of violence toward children and families, which led to her research, and then the funding awards necessary to start programs to help victims heal from the losses and grief caused by maltreatment and violence.
Dr. Sites is the innovative developer and director of the highly successful program called, TIP [Therapeutic Interagency Preschool Program] which began in response to the deaths of two preschool children who were in the custody of a county Children’s Services Department. Dr. Sites was asked to design a community “safety net” around our most vulnerable children, those with abuse and unknown permanent custody plans. For 31 years, TIP has offered unique, wrap-around services and evidence-based outcomes for children with serious histories of abuse. TIP has now been replicated throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania (8 sites). TIP was awarded statewide recognition in 2006 as Ohio‘s Most Effective Early Mental Health Program. Most recently, she has served as the Clinical Director of the newly developed Post-Traumatic Healing Center in the Division of Psychiatry of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In 2018, the National Head Start Association acknowledged Ohio’s TIP programs as Head Start’s most effective response to the impact of the Opioid Epidemic on children and caregivers.
Dr. Sites’ amazing ability to procure grants, contracts, and private funding for her programs’ needs is a testimony to her flexibility, perseverance, and interagency collaborative skills. Her steadfast focus on the fundamental needs and rights of children to have personal safety and individualized developmental intervention has inspired the hundreds of interdisciplinary students and colleagues she has trained and worked with, as well as the hundreds of children, parents, and guardians she has served for over 30 years.
Dr. Sites has served on many interdisciplinary state level Task Forces and Advisory Boards. She has taught young children with and without disabilities, as well as graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of special education, early childhood education, and social work. She has conducted research on the impact of disabilities and maltreatment on child development and parenting, and she has published in the areas of child welfare, psychology, early childhood, and special education. We would like to acknowledge her contribution by this nomination for the Ohio AEYC Early Childhood Legacy Award of 2010.