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Judy Havlicek

Associate Professor

headshot of Judy Havlicek


(217) 244-5235

School of Social Work
1010 W. Nevada Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Office 2109

Areas of focus

Child Welfare


SOCW 580

What I Do

I am a child welfare researcher. I use quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the experiences of children, youth, and families served in state child welfare systems. My goal is to use research evidence to make informed decisions about the services and policies that support families to care for their children. I am particularly interested in better understanding how to shape child welfare contexts to better promote healthy development and mitigate risks.


  • Ph.D. in Social Work – University of Chicago
  • Two years of post-doctoral training – Center for Mental Health Services Research at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Master of Social Work – University of Washington in Seattle
  • B.A. in Psychology – University of Wisconsin in Madison




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.

Selected Publications

  • Havlicek, J. & Samuels, G.M. (2018). The Illinois State Foster Youth Advisory Board asa Counterspace for Well-being through Identity Work: Perspectives of Curren and FormerMembers. Social Service Review, 92(2), 241-289.
  • Havlicek, J.(2020).Systematic Review of Birth Parent–Foster Youth Relationships Before and After Aging Out ofFoster Care. Children and Youth Services Review
  • Havlicek, J.R., & Courtney, M.E. (2015).Maltreatment histories of aging out foster youth: A comparison of official reports and self-reports ofmaltreatment prior to and while in out-of-home care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 52, 110-122.

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