Professor Iglehart’s research centers on adolescents in foster care; aging out of care and the transition to adulthood; and service delivery to diverse communities. Her background as a case-carrying children's services worker in Los Angeles County ignited her interest in public child welfare. One aspect of her academic work addresses the needs of and services to adolescents who age-out of, or emancipate from, foster care. Recent child welfare legislation has expanded the service population from those teens preparing for emancipation to include young adults who have already left the foster care system.
Dr. Iglehart is investigating the quality of life of individuals after they have aged out of foster care. Her research, as well as that of others, shows that numerous former foster care individuals are at-risk for negative outcomes such as homelessness, substance abuse, welfare dependency, and incarceration. The current policy dilemma involves the implementation of mandated programs and services that effectively promote and support self-sufficiency and the successful transition to adulthood for this target population. In the child welfare field, she has published on the topics of adolescents in foster care, kinship care, and the public child welfare organization.
Another aspect of Dr. Iglehart’s work addresses the history and development of non-clinical social work that includes social work practice in organizations, communities, and policy settings. As part of this focus, she is studying the organization, structure, and service delivery patterns of community-based agencies; inter-agency cooperation; and the development and effectiveness of collaboratives. She seeks to identify those policies and practices that facilitate inter-organizational relationships.
Dr. Iglehart's work also emphasizes the role of social justice in the service delivery process. She was instrumental in creating the Department of Social Welfare's Social Work and Social Justice Specialization. Her co-authored book, Social Services and the Ethnic Community (now in its second edition), traces the history and evolution of ethnic services in the United States. For many ethnic/racial groups, ethnic services can be seen as a pathway for creating opportunities and reducing barriers.