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Mary Elizabeth Collins

Chair of Social Welfare Policy & Professor

Specialties

• Child Welfare Policy

• Transition to Adulthood for Vulnerable Youth

• Compassion in Social Policy

• Evaluation of Social Services

Mary Elizabeth Collins
department: Social Welfare Policy
phone: (617) 353-4612

faculty details

Bio

Mary Collins, chair of the Department of Social Welfare Policy, is an internationally recognized expert on child welfare. She is currently a subject extern examiner for the MSW program at University College Dublin in Ireland and serves as the international editorial advisor for British Journal of Social Work and on the editorial board of Journal of Policy Practice and Research.

Author of Macro Perspectives on Youths Aging Out of Foster Care (NASW Press, 2015), Collins’ recent research has appeared in journals including Child Welfare, Social Work Education, Research on Social Work Practice and Journal of Social Policy. Over the past decade, she has been a visiting scholar in Switzerland at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, in Ethiopia at University of Gondar and in Northern Ireland at Queen’s University School of Social Work. Collins spent the 2011-2012 academic year as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities at Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Her current research, funded by the Institute for Research on Poverty, is focused on employment-related policies for vulnerable youth.

At BUSSW, Collins previously served as associate dean for academic affairs, director of the dual degree program in social work and theology, co-coordinator of the specialization in children, youth and families, and director of the doctoral program.

Education

BA (Criminal Justice)

University of Illinois, Chicago

MA (Social Work)

University of Chicago

PhD (Social Work)

University of Chicago

Postdoctoral (Social Work)

University of Michigan

Courses

WP700 Social Welfare Policy I: Conceptions, Scope, History, and Philosophies of Social Welfare
WP701 Social Welfare Policy II: Social Problems and Social Policy
WP707 Social Welfare Policy and Programs for Children

Courses

WP700 Social Welfare Policy I: Conceptions, Scope, History, and Philosophies of Social Welfare
WP701 Social Welfare Policy II: Social Problems and Social Policy
WP707 Social Welfare Policy and Programs for Children

Publications

Collins, M.E., and Mead, M.A. (2020). Social constructions of children and youth: Beyond dependents and deviants. Journal of Social Policy.

Collins, M.E., & Kim, S.H. (2020). Governors as policy entrepreneurs: Setting the agenda for children. Child Welfare.

Collins, M.E. (2020). Transitioning from foster care to independence: Lessons from recent research and next steps. Child Welfare, 97, 5, 233-240.

Collins, M.E., Putnam, D., & Doherty, J. (2019). Assessing student competency in diversity and social justice. Social Work Education DOI:10.1080/02615479.2019.1701643

Collins, M.E. (2019). Governors as policymakers: Child welfare as an election issue. APSAC [American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children] Advisor, 31(2), 6-12.

Garlington, S B., Collins, M.E., and Bossaller, M.R.D. (2019). An ethical foundation for social good: Virtue theory and solidarity. Research on Social Work Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1049731519839472.

Collins, M.E. and Scott, J.C. (2019). Intersection of race and religion for youth in foster care: Examining policy and practice. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 163-170.

Collins, M.E. (2018). Comparative analysis of state policy-making in child welfare: Utilizing theory to explain policy choices. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 20, 370-386.

Augsberger, A., Gecker, W. and Collins, M.E. (2018). "We make a direct impact on people's lives:" Youth empowerment in the context of a participatory budgeting project. Journal of Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22131

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., and Gecker, W. (2018). Identifying practice components of youth councils: Contributions of theory. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 35, 599-610. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-018-0551-7.

Augsberger, A., Collins, M.E., & Gecker, W. (2017). Youth civic engagement: Do youth councils reduce or reinforce social inequality? Journal of Adolescent Research, doi:10.1177/0743558416684957

Duffy, J., Collins, M.E., & Kim, S.H. (2016). Linking family engagement with a rights perspective: Macro factors influencing practice. European Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1080/13691457.2016.1255925

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, & Gecker, W. (2016). Youth councils in municipal government: Examination of activities, impact and barriers. Children and Youth Services Review, 65, 140-147.

Collins, M.E. (2015). Macro perspectives on youths aging out of foster care. Washington DC: NASW Press.

Ha, Y., Collins, M.E., & Martino, D. (2015). Child care burden and risk of child maltreatment among low-income working families. Children and Youth Services Review, 59, 19-27.

Collins, M.E., Garlington, S., & Cooney, K. (2015). Relieving human suffering: Compassion in social policy. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 48, 1, 95-120.

Collins, M.E. & McLaughlin, D. (2014). Potential for adolescent-focused group work in the Vietnam context. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care. doi:10.1080/17450128.2014.940414

Collins, M.E., Cooney, K., & Garlington, S. (2012). Compassion in contemporary social policy: Applications of virtue theory. Journal of Social Policy, 41 (2), 251-269.

Collins, M.E. & Ward, R.L. (2011). Services and outcomes for transition-age foster care youth: Youths’ perspectives. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care, 6 (2), 157-165.

Collins, M.E. & Curtis, M. (2011). Conceptualizing housing careers for vulnerable youths: Implications for policy. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81 (3), 390-400.

Collins, M.E., Spencer, R., & Ward, R. (2010). Supporting youth in the transition from foster care: Formal and informal connections. Child Welfare, 89 (1), 125-143.

Publications

Collins, M.E., and Mead, M.A. (2020). Social constructions of children and youth: Beyond dependents and deviants. Journal of Social Policy.

Collins, M.E., & Kim, S.H. (2020). Governors as policy entrepreneurs: Setting the agenda for children. Child Welfare.

Collins, M.E. (2020). Transitioning from foster care to independence: Lessons from recent research and next steps. Child Welfare, 97, 5, 233-240.

Collins, M.E., Putnam, D., & Doherty, J. (2019). Assessing student competency in diversity and social justice. Social Work Education DOI:10.1080/02615479.2019.1701643

Collins, M.E. (2019). Governors as policymakers: Child welfare as an election issue. APSAC [American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children] Advisor, 31(2), 6-12.

Garlington, S B., Collins, M.E., and Bossaller, M.R.D. (2019). An ethical foundation for social good: Virtue theory and solidarity. Research on Social Work Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1049731519839472.

Collins, M.E. and Scott, J.C. (2019). Intersection of race and religion for youth in foster care: Examining policy and practice. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 163-170.

Collins, M.E. (2018). Comparative analysis of state policy-making in child welfare: Utilizing theory to explain policy choices. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 20, 370-386.

Augsberger, A., Gecker, W. and Collins, M.E. (2018). "We make a direct impact on people's lives:" Youth empowerment in the context of a participatory budgeting project. Journal of Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22131

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., and Gecker, W. (2018). Identifying practice components of youth councils: Contributions of theory. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 35, 599-610. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-018-0551-7.

Augsberger, A., Collins, M.E., & Gecker, W. (2017). Youth civic engagement: Do youth councils reduce or reinforce social inequality? Journal of Adolescent Research, doi:10.1177/0743558416684957

Duffy, J., Collins, M.E., & Kim, S.H. (2016). Linking family engagement with a rights perspective: Macro factors influencing practice. European Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1080/13691457.2016.1255925

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, & Gecker, W. (2016). Youth councils in municipal government: Examination of activities, impact and barriers. Children and Youth Services Review, 65, 140-147.

Collins, M.E. (2015). Macro perspectives on youths aging out of foster care. Washington DC: NASW Press.

Ha, Y., Collins, M.E., & Martino, D. (2015). Child care burden and risk of child maltreatment among low-income working families. Children and Youth Services Review, 59, 19-27.

Collins, M.E., Garlington, S., & Cooney, K. (2015). Relieving human suffering: Compassion in social policy. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 48, 1, 95-120.

Collins, M.E. & McLaughlin, D. (2014). Potential for adolescent-focused group work in the Vietnam context. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care. doi:10.1080/17450128.2014.940414

Collins, M.E., Cooney, K., & Garlington, S. (2012). Compassion in contemporary social policy: Applications of virtue theory. Journal of Social Policy, 41 (2), 251-269.

Collins, M.E. & Ward, R.L. (2011). Services and outcomes for transition-age foster care youth: Youths’ perspectives. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care, 6 (2), 157-165.

Collins, M.E. & Curtis, M. (2011). Conceptualizing housing careers for vulnerable youths: Implications for policy. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81 (3), 390-400.

Collins, M.E., Spencer, R., & Ward, R. (2010). Supporting youth in the transition from foster care: Formal and informal connections. Child Welfare, 89 (1), 125-143.

Presentations

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., & Sirois, L. (2020). Civic engagement opportunities for system-involved youth: A comparative analysis. Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference. Washington, DC.

Dixon, Z., Collins, M.E., & Zimmerman, T. (2020). Building policy practice and social justice competencies to address racial and economic inequality. Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference. Washington, DC.

Collins, M.E. (2019). Supporting positive transitions for youth in child welfare: Policy approaches in comparative perspective. Invited presentation at 4th biannual international ISTAR conference: Adolescence in a multicultural transition and context. UIT, The Artic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Collins, M.E. (2019). Promising models to facilitate employment of care-leavers in the U.S. Invited presentation at Africa Care-leaving Conference. University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Collins, M.E. (2018). Family policy in the U.S.: Comparative perspectives. Guest lecture at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., and Gecker, W. (2018). Engaging youth in community decisions: Formal and informal strategies. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Dublin, Ireland.

Garlington, S. and Collins, M.E. (2017). Compassionate response: Intersection of religious faith and public policy. Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research. University of Salzburg, Austria.

Collins, M.E. (2016). Comparative analysis of state policy-making in child welfare: Differentiating symbolic versus substantive change. Fourteenth International Comparative Policy Analysis Forum. Wellington, New Zealand.

Collins, M.E. (2016). New developments in social work education and research. Department of Social Work, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Viet Nam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A. & Gecker, W. (2016). Youth councils and social justice: Practice and potential. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Seoul, Korea.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., & Gecker, W. (2016). Youth civic engagement and social inequality: The potential of municipal youth councils. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management International Conference. London, England.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., & Gecker, W. (2015). Youth voice in municipal government: Understanding the roles and impacts of youth councils. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management 37th Annual Fall Research Conference. Miami, FL.

Collins, M.E. and Augsberger, A. (2014). Cultural considerations for youth aging out of foster care. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Melbourne, Australia.

Collins, M.E. (2014). Human trafficking in Vietnam. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. Tampa, FL.

Collins, M.E. & Garlington, S. (2013). Virtue and public policy: A historical analysis. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. San Antonio, TX.

Collins, M.E. & Garlington, S. (2011). Compassion: The intersection of religious roots and contemporary policy. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Conference. Milwaukee, WI.

Presentations

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., & Sirois, L. (2020). Civic engagement opportunities for system-involved youth: A comparative analysis. Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference. Washington, DC.

Dixon, Z., Collins, M.E., & Zimmerman, T. (2020). Building policy practice and social justice competencies to address racial and economic inequality. Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference. Washington, DC.

Collins, M.E. (2019). Supporting positive transitions for youth in child welfare: Policy approaches in comparative perspective. Invited presentation at 4th biannual international ISTAR conference: Adolescence in a multicultural transition and context. UIT, The Artic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Collins, M.E. (2019). Promising models to facilitate employment of care-leavers in the U.S. Invited presentation at Africa Care-leaving Conference. University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Collins, M.E. (2018). Family policy in the U.S.: Comparative perspectives. Guest lecture at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., and Gecker, W. (2018). Engaging youth in community decisions: Formal and informal strategies. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Dublin, Ireland.

Garlington, S. and Collins, M.E. (2017). Compassionate response: Intersection of religious faith and public policy. Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research. University of Salzburg, Austria.

Collins, M.E. (2016). Comparative analysis of state policy-making in child welfare: Differentiating symbolic versus substantive change. Fourteenth International Comparative Policy Analysis Forum. Wellington, New Zealand.

Collins, M.E. (2016). New developments in social work education and research. Department of Social Work, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Viet Nam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A. & Gecker, W. (2016). Youth councils and social justice: Practice and potential. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Seoul, Korea.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., & Gecker, W. (2016). Youth civic engagement and social inequality: The potential of municipal youth councils. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management International Conference. London, England.

Collins, M.E., Augsberger, A., & Gecker, W. (2015). Youth voice in municipal government: Understanding the roles and impacts of youth councils. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management 37th Annual Fall Research Conference. Miami, FL.

Collins, M.E. and Augsberger, A. (2014). Cultural considerations for youth aging out of foster care. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Melbourne, Australia.

Collins, M.E. (2014). Human trafficking in Vietnam. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. Tampa, FL.

Collins, M.E. & Garlington, S. (2013). Virtue and public policy: A historical analysis. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. San Antonio, TX.

Collins, M.E. & Garlington, S. (2011). Compassion: The intersection of religious roots and contemporary policy. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Conference. Milwaukee, WI.

Grants

Principal Investigator. Addressing the Workforce Needs of Youth in Urban Settings: A Study of Local Workforce Development Boards’ Inclusion of Youth Expertise. Funded by the Initiative on Cities, Boston University. Amount: $10,000. June 2020 – May 2021.

Principal Investigator. (2020-present). Local Workforce Systems: Understanding Implementation Processes to Effectively Serve Vulnerable Youth. Funded by The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Faculty Fellowship, Boston University School of Theology. (2016-2017). Religion and Race: Intersections in the Construction of Identity. Examining Religion and Race in Child Welfare: Influences of Policies and Programs.

Principal Investigator. (2016-2017). Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative. Funded by the Council on Social Work Education. Funding: $20,000.

Co-Principal Investigator. (2015). PI: Augsberger, A. Understanding the Social Justice Function of Youth Councils. Funded by the Initiative on Cities, Boston University. Funding: $5000.

Fulbright Fellowship. (2011-2012). University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of Social Work, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City.

Principal Investigator. (2003-2008). Professional Education for Current Public Child Welfare Agency Staff. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Funding: $374,121.

Principal Investigator. (2006-2007). Leaving Care in Massachusetts: Policy and Supports to Facilitate Transition. Funded by the Massachusetts Youth Transition Task Force. Funding: $115,000.

Evaluation Consultant. (2005-2008). Training of Child Welfare Agency Supervisors in the Effective Delivery and Management of Independent Living Services for Youth in Foster Care. University of Massachusetts Medical Center for Adoption Research. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children and Families.

Principal Investigator. (2003-2007). National Evaluation of Child Welfare Training Grants. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children and Families. Funding: $1,048,434.

Grants

Principal Investigator. Addressing the Workforce Needs of Youth in Urban Settings: A Study of Local Workforce Development Boards’ Inclusion of Youth Expertise. Funded by the Initiative on Cities, Boston University. Amount: $10,000. June 2020 – May 2021.

Principal Investigator. (2020-present). Local Workforce Systems: Understanding Implementation Processes to Effectively Serve Vulnerable Youth. Funded by The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Faculty Fellowship, Boston University School of Theology. (2016-2017). Religion and Race: Intersections in the Construction of Identity. Examining Religion and Race in Child Welfare: Influences of Policies and Programs.

Principal Investigator. (2016-2017). Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative. Funded by the Council on Social Work Education. Funding: $20,000.

Co-Principal Investigator. (2015). PI: Augsberger, A. Understanding the Social Justice Function of Youth Councils. Funded by the Initiative on Cities, Boston University. Funding: $5000.

Fulbright Fellowship. (2011-2012). University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of Social Work, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City.

Principal Investigator. (2003-2008). Professional Education for Current Public Child Welfare Agency Staff. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Funding: $374,121.

Principal Investigator. (2006-2007). Leaving Care in Massachusetts: Policy and Supports to Facilitate Transition. Funded by the Massachusetts Youth Transition Task Force. Funding: $115,000.

Evaluation Consultant. (2005-2008). Training of Child Welfare Agency Supervisors in the Effective Delivery and Management of Independent Living Services for Youth in Foster Care. University of Massachusetts Medical Center for Adoption Research. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children and Families.

Principal Investigator. (2003-2007). National Evaluation of Child Welfare Training Grants. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children and Families. Funding: $1,048,434.

Professional Activities and Certifications

2016-2019: Subject Extern Examiner, School of Social Policy, Social Work, and Social Justice, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

2014-Present: Academic Consultant, Northeastern region. Hedge Funds Care/Help for Children Grant-makers.

2016-2019: Member, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Council on Leadership Development.

2014: Program Reviewer, Social Work Undergraduate Program. Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon.

Professional Activities and Certifications

2016-2019: Subject Extern Examiner, School of Social Policy, Social Work, and Social Justice, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

2014-Present: Academic Consultant, Northeastern region. Hedge Funds Care/Help for Children Grant-makers.

2016-2019: Member, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Council on Leadership Development.

2014: Program Reviewer, Social Work Undergraduate Program. Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon.

Awards and Honors

2014-2015 Cohort: Selected Participant, Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), Wellesley Institute.

2011-2012: Fulbright Lecturing Fellowship. Supporting the development of a professional workforce for child protection in Vietnam: A collaborative approach.

Awards and Honors

2014-2015 Cohort: Selected Participant, Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), Wellesley Institute.

2011-2012: Fulbright Lecturing Fellowship. Supporting the development of a professional workforce for child protection in Vietnam: A collaborative approach.
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