Month: November 2023

U.S. Administration for Children and Families Grant Funds Research Project

With a cooperative agreement sub-award of $300,000, co-Principal Investigators Jon Phillips and Cristina Mogro-Wilson will study “PRESERVE & CONNECT: Partnerships in Rigorous Evaluation of Services that Enhance family wellbeing in Rural VErmont, and urban Latine and Black communities in CONNECTicut.”

The primary goal of the project is to determine whether the “Breakthrough Parenting Curriculum: Navigating Trauma Across Generations (BPC)”— a trauma-informed parenting intervention — is effective at promoting child, parent, and family wellbeing among underserved families at-risk for involvement with the child welfare system. The researchers have partnered with colleagues at the University of Vermont and local community agencies, including the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and Wheeler Clinic, to conduct a three-year, multi-site randomized control trial of the intervention.

“This project allows us to focus on supporting families and preventing child maltreatment in our home state rather than waiting until things get to the point where the child welfare system opens a case,” says Phillips. “Another exciting aspect of this study is that we will be providing financial compensation to parents who have lived experiences with the child welfare system to become trained in the intervention and co-facilitate the parenting group alongside a mental health professional.”

This project is supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award (Award#:90FA3008-01-00) totaling $1.5 million with 100 percent funded by ASCF/HHS. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACF/HHS or the U.S. Government.

Learn more about Phillips and Mogro-Wilson's research.

Four SSW Alums Win Local Elections in CT

Four UConn School of Social Work alums recently won their local elections in Connecticut. We extend our congratulations to:

Pamela Floyd-Cranford ’96 SSW won re-election to the Manchester Board of Directors

Darleen Klase ’88 (CLAS) ’08 SSW won a seat on the Windsor Town Council

Dr. Shannon Lane ’09 SSW won a seat on the Bethany Board of Education

Sarah Miller ’22 SSW won her re-election to the New Haven Board of Alders

Both Dr. Lane and Klase were endorsed by NASW/CT PASE, the political action committee of NASW/CT.

“UConn SSW is proud to have so many of our alumni leading in politics and policy across the state and country,” says Tanya Rhodes Smith, instructor in residence and director of The Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work. “Social workers are uniquely qualified to serve as elected officials because they bring the profession's values, expertise of how policy impacts communities and populations, and our commitment to social justice to their role as leaders.”



Marlene Matarese Received Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award in Social Work

Associate Research Professor Marlene Matarese has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in Social Work to Galway, Ireland, for the 2023 – 2024 academic year, from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Matarese is the deputy director of Innovations Institute at UConn School of Social Work and specializes in evidence-based and evidence-informed intervention design; and best practices in implementation science within the context of the public child-, youth-, and family-serving systems as well as LGBTQ+/sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, workforce development; and systems of care.

The focus of her work has been improving access to and the quality of systems and services for children and youth with public system involvement. Matarese is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the National Quality Improvement Center on Tailored Services, Placement Stability, and Permanency for LGBTQ+ Children and Youth in Foster Care, and the National Quality Improvement Center on Family-Centered Reunification funded by the Children’s Bureau. She is also PI for the National Center of Excellence for LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, funded by SAMHSA and the National Center for Youth with Diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression. Marlene serves as PI on other national, large-scale initiatives including the design, implementation, and evaluation of numerous best practices.

Since September 2023, Matarese has been hosted in Ireland by the University of Galway, School of Political Science and Sociology, Social Work Programme. She is leading a research project on foster care experiences of LGBTQ+ youth who have transitioned out of care from September 2023 through April 2024 entitled Exploration of LGBTQ+ Young Adults' Experiences in Ireland's Child Welfare System: Building a Foundation of LGBTQ+ Culturally Responsive Care. Additionally, as visiting faculty, she is reviewing social work practice curricula to embed LGBTQ+ content throughout, mentor students, and lecture across the region.

Matarese is among over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach or conduct research abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions. Upon returning to their home countries, institutions, labs, and classrooms, they share their stories and often become active supporters of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus, and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

Learn more about Matarese’s work.

Former Faculty Member Ivor Echols Recognized as NASW Pioneer

Retired faculty member and founding director of the Center for International Social Work Studies at UConn School of Social Work, Lynne Healy, Ph.D., recently nominated former faculty member Ivor Echols for posthumous recognition as a NASW Pioneer. Along with her nomination letter below, Dr. Healy added, "In addition to Dr. Echols' deep commitment to fight poverty and racism, her greatest gifts to the University of Connecticut were the countless students who were inspired by her to become better social workers and better people." A supporting letter was also written by Ken Green, '79 (MSW), SSW alum and former State Representative.

The Nomination of Ivor J. Echols (1919-2000) for Pioneer Recognition

Late faculty member Ivor EcholsIvor J. Echols, MSW, PhD, made pioneering contributions as an educator, an activist for civil rights and social justice, and an avid promoter of the social work profession. She inspired hundreds of students and as a leader, strengthened numerous community and national organizations, including the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers. Throughout her life, she worked tirelessly to combat racism and injustice, especially toward the African-American community and those living in poverty. She was a leader in national, state, and local organizations.

Dr. Echols used her personal experiences with racism, her keen love of social work, and her firm but warm approach to reach students and steer them toward work for social justice. Among her many activities, she led efforts to promote professional civility and unity though her leadership in both the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers, during the most turbulent years of the 1970s.

Read the full nomination at the NASW Foundation website.