Stephanie Kathan

Stephanie Kathan (née Thorne) is a second year Social Welfare PhD student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Stephanie earned her Master of Science in Social Work with a concentration in Administration and Policy Practice from the University of Texas at Austin and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sexuality Studies from the University of California at Davis. She has worked with children and families in diverse environments for several years, including providing equine therapy, volunteering at a crisis nursery, providing tutoring services, completing family assessments, and in social work case management. Additionally, Stephanie has experience in developmental psychology research and child welfare research. Before starting at UCLA, Stephanie was a Research Associate at a state-wide Texas child placing agency. Stephanie’s research interests include foster care systems in Los Angeles County. Stephanie is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Eta Tau chapter of Phi Alpha, the Social Work Honor Society.

Brenda A. Tully

Brenda A. Tully’s research focuses on housing security during the transition to adulthood, with a specific interest in young people exiting the foster care system. She draws on the life course perspective and social and economic capital theories to examine how young people navigate housing and how social and economic conditions and public policies influence housing outcomes. Brenda is particularly interested in how structural racism and heterosexism influence housing outcomes for Black and LGBTQ young people exiting care and how familial ties relate to housing pathways. Given the housing crisis, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the U.S., Brenda’s research identifies multi-level factors related to housing (in)security. With her work, Brenda seeks to inform housing and foster care policies to redress societal inequities and honor family relationships so that youth experience improved housing security during their transition to adulthood.

Brenda has received research funding through the UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship and Graduate Summer Research Mentorship programs and the Franklin D. Gilliam Social Award, and fellowship funding from the Meyer and Rene Luskin Fellowship and UCLA Faculty Women’s Club Scholarship. She has presented her research at annual meetings of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and an international social science conference at the University of Transylvania, Romania. She contributed to team projects published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Social Work (2020) and the American Journal of Public Health (2015).

Brenda practiced as a licensed clinical social worker in New York City for 20 years. Her research and teaching are informed in part by her work at Good Shepherd Services, where she helped launch the Chelsea Foyer, a transitional, supportive housing program for young people aging out of foster care and experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Brenda earned her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University in New York City and a BA in Speech Communication from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Brenda expects to graduate in June 2022.

Khush Cooper

Khush Cooper, MSW, PhD. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs as well as a consultant to public child welfare systems and private child welfare organizations in the areas of foster care reform, LGBTQ youth in systems, implementation science, and leadership. Dr. Cooper teaches Child Welfare Research, Leadership, Public Policy for Children and Youth, and Macro Practice at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA and is a foster care subject matter advisor to the UCLA Williams Institute, a nationally renowned LGBT research and policy analysis center. She received her MSW (2000) and PhD (2010) in Social Work from Luskin.

 

Her research projects include the California Residentially-Based Services (RBS) Demonstration Project which tested new models for the provision of residential treatment to foster children across four jurisdictions, which models influenced AB 403 Continuum of Care Reform – the largest overhaul of California’s child welfare system in 30 years; the RISE Project, a $13 million, federally-funded 5-year demonstration project which developed evidence-based practices and a rigorously evaluated training curriculum aimed at reducing barriers to permanency for LGBTQ youth in foster care; the Los Angeles Foster Youth Study, the first empirical study to determine the disproportionality of LGBTQ youth in a large urban child welfare system; and the LA LGBTQ Youth Preparedness Scan which used a preparedness framework (as opposed to a cultural competence framework) to analyze the eleven youth-relevant Los Angeles County departments’ capacity to properly serve LGBTQ children, youth and families.

 

Additionally, as a social entrepreneur and specialist in the study and implementation science, Dr. Cooper has cultivated long-standing relationships with policymakers, leading practitioners, and consumers to shield and guide California’s child welfare organizations, both public and private, through reform initiatives. Her credibility in the child welfare field is further enhanced by her years of direct practice experience in foster care, residential treatment and community adolescent service settings. She has deployed performance management systems for large multi-site child welfare and mental health provision organizations; designed practical implementation support and readiness initiatives with regard to state and federal legislative mandates (such as the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project and the Families First Prevention Services Act; and currently is an adjunct member of the Implementation Collaborative within Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago as well as CQI subject matter expert utilized widely by Casey Family Programs.

 

Alfreda P. Iglehart

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.

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

Social Services and the Ethnic Community – History and Analysis
Iglehart, A.P. & Becerra, R.M. (2011).  Social Services and the Ethnic Community – History and Analysis.  Second Edition.  Long Grove, IL:  Waveland Press.

Managing for Diversity and Empowerment in Human Services Agencies. (2009)
Pps. 295 – 318 in Rino Patti, Ed., The Handbook of Human Services Management.  Second Edition.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications.

Hispanic and African American Youth
Iglehart, A. and R. Becerra. (2002). “Hispanic and African American Youth: Life After Foster Care Emancipation.” Journal of Ethnic  & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 11, 79-107.

Social Services and the Ethnic Community
Iglehart, A. and R. Becerra. (1995).  Social Services and the Ethnic Community.  Boston:  Allyn and Bacon.  Reissued by Waveland Press, 2000.

Readiness for Independence: Comparison of Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Non-foster Care Adolescents
Iglehart, A. (1995).  “Readiness for Independence: Comparison of Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Non-foster Care Adolescents.” Children and Youth Services Review, 17, 417-32.

Todd Franke

Trained in social work and educational psychology, Professor Franke seeks to achieve a better understanding of, and improve the responsiveness of service systems in the fields of social services, education and health. Using cognitive theory to better define policy issues related to the integration of these two important fields, Dr. Franke’s research has focused in part on the impact of disability and chronic illness on school-age children. He is currently conducting a study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on the use of personal assistance services for children with disabilities. In addition, Dr. Franke studies how adolescents solve social problems; urban mobility and its impact on children’s education and social development; and how to successfully integrate health and social services in school settings.

Dr. Franke is active in several local and regional efforts to restructure social services in the schools, helping to conceptualize planning and implementation and the design of evaluation measures in Los Angeles Unified School District, the country’s second-largest school district. He also serves as a consultant to local school districts for the preparation of funding proposals for Healthy Start, a state program to establish linkages between community social service agencies and schools. HIs primary work occurs at the intersection of youth violence (child welfare and gang involved youth) and education. In these areas he designs and undertakes evaluative research and has obtained over $9 million in research funding over the past 7 years. He is currently the Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.

Dr. Franke has been involved with agencies that serve thousands of families representing unique geographic and cultural communities in California, particularly southern California counties. He recently prepared a report for the Los Angeles City Council which examines the measurement issues involved in assessing the success of gang-related and youth development prevention and intervention programs in the city. The link between involvement in the child welfare system and gang involvement is well documented. Dr. Franke is currently the Co-PI of the Best Start LA Initiative which aims to shape, strengthen and support five Los Angeles communities by building resources and providing access to activities that improve the well-being, development and care experienced by pregnant women, parents of newborns and children age 3 and under.

Dr. Franke was also the Principal Investigator for the First 5 LA-funded Partnership for Families Initiative, which is a secondary prevention initiative that is designed to prevent child maltreatment in vulnerable families. Dr. Franke has been the PI for the Small County Initiative, which was designed to systematically examine California’s efforts to build and enhance child abuse and neglect prevention efforts in 11 rural counties in northern California. Additionally, he has numerous years of experience in conducting cross-sectional and longitudinal research in the fields of education, child welfare and adolescent violence.