Austin Griffiths is an Assistant Professor at Western Kentucky University and the Director of the Center for Child Welfare Education and Research. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of Social Work at Western Kentucky University and his Ph.D. in the University of Kentucky’s College of Social Work. Previously a child welfare practitioner in the commonwealth of Kentucky, Dr. Griffiths is passionate about improving the lives of vulnerable children and their families, as well as supporting and advocating for a healthy and vibrant child welfare workforce.
Daniel Boamah is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Western Kentucky University and an Associate for the LifeSkills Center for Child Welfare Education and Research. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Geography from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, and Master of Arts in Economics from University of Waterloo, Canada. Subsequently, Daniel earned Master of Science and Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Louisville, USA. Dr. Boamah has since 2005 worked with youth and families in both residential and community-based settings in direct support, administration and clinical. He enjoys working with youth and families of marginalized population groups and passionate about bringing community partners and resources together to address systemic challenges.
Dr. Patricia Desrosiers, LCSW is the Department Head and an Associate Professor of Social Work at Western Kentucky University and an Associate for the Center for Child Welfare Education and Research. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kentucky Wesleyan College, her Master of Social Work from the University of Southern Indiana, and her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Louisville. Dr. Desrosiers has worked with child welfare partners since 1992, and she has extensive case management and clinical experience with children and families who have experienced abuse and neglect or mental health challenges. Foster care work was her specialty area during her clinical practice years.
April Murphy is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Western Kentucky University and an Associate for the Center for Child Welfare Education and Research. Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky with roots in northeast Ohio, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Louisville, her Master of Social Work from Florida State University, and Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Louisville. Dr. Murphy has practice experience working with children who experienced severe sexual abuse as well as working as an in-home therapist for children and families in Kentucky. She is passionate about ensuring policies and practices in child welfare are inclusive and espouse basic human rights.
Dana J. Sullivan, Ph.D., CSW, is a Professor of Social Work at Western Kentucky University and an Associate for the Center for Child Welfare Education and Research. She is a member of the Social Work Education Assessment Project (SWEAP) team. She is also a Certified Prevention (Alcohol and Other Drug) Specialist in the state of Kentucky. Dr. Sullivan was the Co-PI of the evaluation team for Project MATCH, a Children’s Bureau grant to help Kentucky with the diligent recruitment of foster parents. She has served as co-principal investigator on numerous federal grants related to child welfare training and evaluation (including independent living); child welfare agency-university partnerships; and substance abuse. Prior to academia, she worked in the field of child welfare training, mental health and substance abuse prevention for 9 years.
Julie Jones, MSW, serves as the Child Welfare Coordinator for the Department. Growing up in the Nashville, Tennessee area, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Social Worker at Western Kentucky University. Mrs. Jones is a former child welfare worker for the state of Kentucky and is proud to support and advocate for child welfare staff. She served as foster care specialist during the last few years with the state.
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