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Wendy Haight

Professor; Gamble-Skogmo Chair in Child Welfare and Youth Policy
Ph.D., University of Chicago
B.A., Reed College

Office hours:
Please e-mail for an appointment.

Areas of Interest

I am broadly interested in cultural variation in socialization practices and their impact on children’s psychosocial development. My recent research has focused on child welfare-involved families including those from rural, drug-involved U.S. families, and children with maltreatment histories who are in care in Japan.

Research Interests

Professor Haight's research focuses on better understanding and supporting vulnerable children and families, especially those involved in public child welfare systems. These projects use mixed methods approaches to address child welfare issues, and emphasize field (community) initiated research.  

  1. Crossover youth.  This research focuses on better understanding risks and protective factors for maltreated children becoming involved in the juvenile justice system, and the impact of a practice model on lessoning this entanglement. 
  2. Disability.  Many maltreated children involved in public child welfare systems struggle with “high incidence” disabilities (e.g., specific learning disabilities and ADHD).  This research looks cross culturally at how the struggles of children with disabilities are understood and responded to in the U.S., Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. 
  3. Legal representation of parents involved in the public child welfare system.  Many parents in the child welfare system lack adequate legal representation.  This project evaluates an innovative legal clinic at the William Mitchell School of Law which aims to provide better advocacy for parents, thereby enhancing fairness in the treatment of stigmatized parents and minimizing delays in establishing permanency for children.
  4. Racial disproportionalities in out-of-school suspensions. A disproportionate number of Black children receive out-of-school suspensions. This research examines the experiences of youth who are suspended, their caregivers and educators to better understand the intransigence of this problem and design more effective strategies for building relationships and responding to youth. 
  5. International child welfare. This research considers how other cultural communities, for example, Ghana, respond to challenges experienced by children and their families to generate creative ideas about how we in the U.S. can better support families.

Selected Publications

  1. Kayama, M. & Haight, W. (2014). Development and Disability: A Japanese Case Study. New York: Oxford University Press.

  2. Haight, W., Bidwell, L., Marshall, J. & Khatiwoda, P. (2014).  Implementing the crossover youth practice model in diverse contexts: Child welfare and juvenile justice professionals’ experiences of multisystem collaborations.  Children and Youth Services Review.

  3. Marshall, J. & Haight, W. (2014).  Understanding Racial Disproportionality affecting African American Youth Who Cross Over from the Child Welfare to the Juvenile Justice System: Communication, Power, Race and Social Class. Children and Youth Services Review, 42, 82-90.

  4. Haight, W., Gibson, P., Kayama, M. Wilson, R. (2014). An ecological-systems inquiry into racial disproportionalities in out-of-school suspensions from youth, caregiver and educator perspectives. Children and Youth Services Review, 46, 128-138.

  5. Haight, W., Kayama, M., & Korang-Okrah, R. (2014). Ethnography in social work practice and policy. Qualitative Social Work, 13(1), 127-143.

  6. Korang-Okrah, R. & Haight, W. (in press) Ghanaian (Akan) women’s experiences of widowhood and property rights violations: An ethnographic inquiry. Qualitative Social Work. DOI: 10.1177/1473325014526275

  7. Kayama, M. & Haight, W. (in press). Cultural sensitivity in the delivery of disability services to children: A case study of Japanese education and socialization. Children and Youth Services Review 33 (9), 1583-91., 32(10), 1446