Family policy concerns many of the areas central to what families do – care for each other and promote economic and social wellbeing of family members. The Family Policy Group actively conducts research on a range of family policy topics such as child care, child welfare, parenting education, family processes, and work-family fit.

Recognizing that “family” represents a diverse and uneven constellation of living arrangements, emotional bonds, and legal recognition, we embrace that diversity in our own work and the scholars we collaborate with.

We aim to translate and disseminate key findings from this working into products such as policy briefs, websites, conference presentations, and academic papers. In doing so, we study and compare how policy processes and impacts compare and contrast across counties, states, and countries.

Family Policy Group Faculty Members

Catherine Bolzendahl , Ph.D.

Catherine Bolzendahl, Ph.D.

Professor

Catherine (Katie) Bolzendahl is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the School of Public Policy. As a political sociologist, her work on focuses on issues at the nexus of gender, family, and political citizenship. Current family-centered projects include an analysis of large scale cross-national survey data on non-traditional family structures across differing policy environments and an examination of American’s current beliefs about same-sex families given the passage of legal marriage rights.

Kelly Chandler, Ph.D.

Kelly Chandler, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Kelly applies a work-family justice lens to study how working conditions, workplace culture, and work-family policies affect the health and daily lives of employees and their families. She also examines the implications of work for family processes, including emotional transmission, family routines, and parental socialization.

Brianne Kothari, Ph.D.

Brianne Kothari, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Brianne's research focuses on understanding the experiences and trajectories of at-risk populations as well as on designing, implementing and evaluating developmentally appropriate, family systems focused interventions.

Megan Pratt, Ph.D.

Megan Pratt, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor (Practice)

Megan Pratt conducts research related to child care policy as it relates to family, provider, and community well-being. In partnership with federal, state, and local partners, current projects focus on topics such as child care supply, affordability, subsidized care, and workforce development.

David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D.

David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

David studies how policies shape the lives of children and families. His current focuses are on three policy areas: (1) paid family and medical leave, (2) social safety net and economic hardship, and (3) financial capability and asset building.

Michaella Sektnan, MS

Michaella Sektnan, MS

Senior Faculty Research Assistant II

Michaella's research interests include parenting education, early child care and education, community-based support for children and families, child development, school readiness, and the impact of child abuse and neglect on early development.

Rick Settersten, Ph.D.

Rick Settersten, Ph.D.

Professor

Rick's research focuses on life course; age and aging; transitions; social relationships; historical experiences and social change; parenthood and family life; social policy.

Shauna Tominey, Ph.D.

Shauna Tominey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Practice & Parenting Education Specialist

Shauna's research focuses broadly on supporting positive social and emotional outcomes for children and families. She has two related streams of translational research: 1) developing, implementing, and testing programs that promote self-regulation and emotional intelligence for children and the adults in their lives and 2) increasing access to parenting education to provide families with the information and support they need to be the parents they want to be.


Family Policy Group Student Members

Brenda Barrett-Rivera, MS

Brenda Barrett-Rivera, MS

Ph.D. Student

Brenda is interested in family resilience, with a specific focus on low-income families' survival strategies and their implications for health and family relationships. Currently, she is examining how low-income, rural families develop and implement strategies to maintain housing over time.

Ines de Pierola

Ines de Pierola

Ph.D. Student

Ines is a Ph.D. student in HDFS. She is originally from Lima, Peru. Her research interests surround social factors, such as poverty and financial capability, and how these influence the development of children and families. She is especially interested in Latinx families and communities.

Linda Fenske, MS

Linda Fenske, MS

Ph.D. Student

Linda’s research interests include the ways in which parenting education supports families with adolescents, ways to increase the availability and uptake of high-quality parenting education, and the mental health needs of youth from marginalized populations.

Isabella Sciuto Ozenbaugh

Isabella Sciuto Ozenbaugh

Ph.D. Candidate

Isabella's research interests include studying the development of self-regulation across early and middle childhood with an emphasis on finding ways to intervene to boost children's self-regulation and school readiness. Isabella is also interested in child care and family policy and how policies, especially around child care, impacts child development and the family as a whole.

Kylee M. Probert, M.S.

Kylee M. Probert, M.S.

Ph.D. Student

A PhD candidate and graduate student in HDFS, Kylee’s research focuses on formal supports for improving the wellbeing and subsequent retention of caregivers of vulnerable children. Current projects include an analysis of a statewide sample of foster caregivers in Oregon, as well as development of an intervention for license exempt, home-based early care educators

Tjorven Sievers, MA

Tjorven Sievers, MA

Ph.D. Student

Tjorven is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Policy. In her work she is interested in how paid family leave and early childhood education and care policy interact with gendered caretaking roles in the family. Her dissertation research focuses on how first-time parents in Germany perceive and negotiate their parenting identities against the background of the parental leave options available to them.

Asia Thogmartin, M.S

Asia Thogmartin, Ph.D.

 

Asia’s research centers on the impact of contextual factors on development across the lifespan. Her experiences growing up in South Africa and working as a criminal defense investigator shape her interest in multicultural, marginalized communities. Her current work focuses on the development of critical consciousness of multicultural youth living in poverty across the U.S.