Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Welfare
M.S.W. and Ph.D. in Social Work, UCLA
B.A. Psychology, Duke University
Areas of Interest:Child Welfare Policy, Continuous quality improvement, Foster Care, Implementation Science, LGBTQ+ youth in systems, Leadership, Residential treatment
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.