Judy Havlicek

Educational Background

Judy Havlicek earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington in Seattle, and her PhD in Social Work from the University of Chicago.  Upon completion of her doctoral training, Dr. Havlicek completed two years of post-doctoral training at the Center for Mental Health Services Research at Washington University in St. Louis.

Research and Practice Interests

Each year, approximately 20,000 foster youth exit child welfare systems through emancipation or aging out. Research consistently documents poor prospects during the transition to adulthood. My research widens the view that is typically placed on the transition years and beyond to explore events leading up to the transition to adulthood. This collection of studies builds translatable knowledge that can be used to inform new practice approaches aimed at engaging youth, addressing a holistic set of needs, and calibrating possibilities for success. My research specifically expands an understanding of aging out foster youths’ needs in three main areas: (a) risks and protections, (b) foster care contexts, and (c) participatory approaches. This body of work uses multiple data sources and methods to uncover patterns, perspectives, and experiences absent from the existing knowledge base, which are essential to developing empirically-supported approaches that improve foster youths’ success in adulthood.


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