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Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW

Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW

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Diane DepanfilisDiane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW
Director, Ruth H. Young Center for Families & Children
Professor, Associate Dean for Research

View CV (58 pages)

Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW is Professor and Director of the Ruth Young Center for Families and Children, an organized research center designed to promote the safety, permanency and stability, and well-being of children, families, and communities through education and training, research and evaluation, and best practice service programs.  The Center leads strategies to enhance social work competencies, provides technical assistance regarding the implementation of new innovations, and develops and tests new interventions to respond to the complex problems experienced by vulnerable families.

During the last forty years, Dr. DePanfilis has (1) provided child welfare services at the local level as a caseworker, supervisor and administrator; (2) worked as a consultant at the national level conducting program evaluations and providing training and technical assistance to child welfare and community based programs; and (3) conducted extensive studies related to the delivery of child welfare services, the prevention of child maltreatment, and the implementation of policies, practices, and community service programs.

Dr. DePanfilis is Principal Investigator of research about the Family Connections program, a community-based family strengthening outreach service program designed to support vulnerable families to meet the basic needs of their children without the need for formal public child welfare services. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its efforts to prevent child neglect, Family Connections is being replicated in multiple sites across the United States.

She has published extensively about child maltreatment, particularly child neglect; child protective and child welfare services;  and intervention research and implementation science – studies that build understanding about what practices, policies, and programs are most effective for strengthening families with children.   She is co-editor of the Handbook for Child Protection Practice, which brings together papers from over seventy interdisciplinary authors. The book is structured to follow the life of a case from the time a report of child maltreatment is made to various pathways in the child protection system and co-author and author of US government published user manuals on the role of child protective services and the prevention, assessment, and intervention with child neglect.

Dr. DePanfilis is particularly interested in ways to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice.  She is Past President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, an interdisciplinary association that works to assure that everyone affected by child maltreatment receives the best possible professional response and recently served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Social Work and Research, an organization devoted to the promotion of human welfare through social work research

Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children
University of Maryland School of Social Work  -  525 West Redwood Street  -  Baltimore, MD 21201  hotline Hotline
Phone: 410.706.3014  -  Training Program: 410.706.3637  -  Fax: 410.706.3133  -  Email:

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