About Trust Based Relational Intervention

About Trust-Based Relational Intervention

The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development (KPICD) at Texas Christian University exists to improve the lives of children through research, education, and outreach that addresses the impact of early abuse, neglect, and trauma. Founded by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross, the Institute was formed out of the first Hope Connection® Camp, a therapeutic camp which focused on the needs of children in adoptive and foster families. Today, through research and evidence-based interventions, KPICD is empowering caregivers and professionals around the world with trauma-informed strategies that improve outcomes for children. It is the home of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®).

Founders of TBRI

Dr. Karyn Purvis

Dr. Karyn Purvis was the Rees-Jones Director and co-founder of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX., the co-creator of Trust-Based Relational Intervention, co-author of a best-selling book in the adoption genre, and a passionate and effective advocate for children. She coined the term “children from hard places” to describe the children she loved and served, those who have suffered trauma, abuse, neglect or other adverse conditions early in life. Her research-based philosophy for healing harmed children centered on earning trust and building deep emotional connections to anchor and empower them.

“If I could tell you my dream for every child in the world it would be to imagine a world where the cry of every child is met by a loving compassionate adult,” she once told an interviewer. “Giving voice to children is the heart and soul of what we do.” 

In late 2016, the Institute changed its name to Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development to honor the life and legacy of its late founder. The work of Dr. Purvis continues to flourish at the Institute where her team remains fiercely committed to changing the world for children.

Dr. David Cross

Dr. David Cross is the co-founder and former Director of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development and was a Professor in the TCU Department of Psychology. Dr. Cross led the Institute in its triple mission of research, education, and outreach to improve the lives of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. He has authored many peer-reviewed publications about issues regarding at-risk children. Dr. Cross’s career at TCU spanned more than 30 years. We are immensely grateful for his service and immeasurable contributions to the KPICD.

“Every child needs someone who is crazy committed to their wellbeing.” 

KPICD Director

Danica Kalling Knight, PhD

Dr. Danica Knight is the Director of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development and Professor of Psychology at Texas Christian University. As Director, her primary responsibility is to ensure that Karyn’s dream of “bringing hope and healing to children around the world” is realized through the Institute’s mission of research, education, and outreach. Danica joined the institute in 2019 as Associate Director of Research and has over 30 years of experience leading large-scale projects designed to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families. Danica is a life-long student of Dr. David Cross. She completed her doctorate in 1992 under his mentorship and has benefitted from his wisdom and support throughout her career.

“It’s a great honor to be entrusted with David Cross’s legacy. Together, he and Karyn Purvis used their brilliance and boldness to create an intervention that is both grounded in science and rooted in compassion. I am convinced that TBRI® works because it speaks to the deepest need of every human soul—connection. Only when we take the time to understand a child and work to meet their need, will we begin to see true healing. And when this happens across many relationships—at home, at school, in service settings—lasting transformation is possible.”

TBRI Ambassador Organizations are identified as key partners who have long-term relationships with the KPICD and are furthering its mission at a systemic level using Trust-Based Relational Intervention. As an Ambassador organization, we partner with KPICD to create healing and empower child welfare systems across the globe.

Evidence-Based Practice

The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development has published many peer reviewed journal articles which provide evidence for the success of the intervention. Trust-Based Relational Intervention is currently listed on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) registry, and is rated as being “Highly” relevant in the child welfare system based upon the program being designed to meet the needs of children, youth, and families receiving child welfare services. Trust-Based Relational Intervention is listed as a promising intervention in two categories: TBRI Online Caregiver Training & TBRI Caregiver Training in the area of Parent Training Programs that Address Behavior Problems in Children & Adolescents.