Dr. Eunju Lee will receive the President's Award for Exemplary Public Engagement for her work on the New York State Kinship Navigator Demonstration Project on April 25. Keep reading to find out more about Dr. Lee, her project, and books that inspired her career path.
Dr. Lee is an assistant professor at UAlbany's School of Social Welfare and is specialized in child welfare. Her research and teaching aim to improve practice and policy for vulnerable children and families. Currently she is involved in two projects: Kinship care and home visiting.
The initiative, led by Gerald Wallace, Director of the New York State Kinship Navigator -- an information and referral program serving the state’s kinship families -- and School of Social Welfare Assistant Professor Eunju Lee, has produced high impact scholarship, practice, and policy changes that have enhanced the well-being of vulnerable kinship care children and their caregivers -- in New York State and throughout the nation. Kinship caregivers are predominantly grandparents, but can also be other relatives and close family friends who provide full-time care to children who cannot live with their own parents for reasons such as neglect or abuse. The demonstration project began in 2012 when Wallace and Lee collaborated to secure a 1.8 million dollar grant to address the needs of children in kinship care. Gerald Wallace’s organization was awarded the grant and the School of Social Welfare was named as the demonstration project’s evaluation partner. Data collected by Professor Lee and her doctoral students on the characteristics of kinship caregivers and the challenges they face were critical in persuading state leadership to implement new policies and practices for child welfare agencies and workers. Over the last two years, UAlbany and the New York State Kinship Navigator have hosted educational forums at the New York State Legislature and collaborated with the Child Welfare League of America to convene an Albany summit for kinship researchers, advocates, practitioners and policymakers from across the country.
Blog Created By: Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno
Image Credit: Mary Hunt