Sarah A Font Twitter

Sarah A Font

Assistant Professor of Sociology

612 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-2259

Curriculum Vitae

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Education:

  1. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Texas at Austin
  2. Ph.D. Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  3. Master of Social Work, Western Michigan University
  4. Bachelor of Social Work, Western Michigan University

Biography:

Research Interests

My research focuses on various issues related to child maltreatment and the child welfare system, including the measurement of child maltreatment, the causes and effects of involvement with the child protection and foster care systems, case-level decision-making, and system effectiveness.

Google Scholar Profile: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=wcuxj5gAAAAJ&hl=en 

Recent/Ongoing Projects

 

Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Pennsylvania 

(Funding: Center for Rural Pennsylvania)

Final Report: Font, Sarah A., Sheridan Miyamoto, and Casey Pinto. 2020. Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Pennsylvania. PA: Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Available at: https://www.rural.palegislature.us/documents/reports/Child-Sexual-Abuse-and-Exploitation-2020.pdf

Media Coverage/Interviews related to project: 

State handling of child abuse records and appeals process criticized in new report The Tribune-Democrat [Harrisburg, PA] (January, 25, 2020) 

Project PA | The process of investigating child abuse Local 21 Harrisburg [Television].  (February, 21, 2020)

 

Emerging Adulthood for Maltreated and Foster Youth  

(Funding: R21HD091459, NICHD) 

This project uses a statewide, longitudinal, administrative dataset that includes the entire population of CPS-involved youth and youth whose families participated in social welfare benefit programs in Wisconsin to examine how a range of maltreatment and OHC experiences are associated with social, educational, and economic outcomes in emerging adulthood, including employment and earnings, benefit receipt, educational attainment, fertility timing, and incarceration, paying close attention to the type(s) of maltreatment experienced as well as OHC placement characteristics (type, length, number of placements) and type of exit from OHC (aging out, reunification or adoption). Finally, we will examine the extent to which young adult parents who experienced childhood CPS involvement or OHC are likely to become the subject of a CPS investigation or OHC placement regarding their own children. This research extends prior work in this area by using multiple identification strategies and comparison (counterfactual) groups to reduce bias in estimated associations of both maltreatment and OHC with subsequent outcomes. It has implications for informing policy and practice to better prepare CPS-involved youth to successfully transition to adulthood and, thereby, for reducing subsequent public expenditures on this population.

Publications from project:

Font, S. A., & Maguire-Jack, K. (2020). It’s not “Just poverty”: Educational, social, and economic functioning among young adults exposed to childhood neglect, abuse, and poverty. Child Abuse & Neglect, 101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104356

Font, Sarah, Maria Cancian, Lawrence M. Berger, and Anna DiGiovanni. 2020.Patterns of Intergenerational Child Protective Services Involvement.” Child Abuse & Neglect 99 (January): in press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104247

Font, Sarah A., Maria Cancian, and Lawrence M. Berger. 2019. “Prevalence and Risk Factors for Early Motherhood among Low-Income, Maltreated, and Foster Youth.” Demography 56:261-284. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-018-0744-x 

Font, Sarah A., Lawrence M. Berger, and Maria Cancian. 2018. "Permanency and the Educational and Economic Attainment of Foster Youth in Early Adulthood." American Sociological Review  83(4):716-743. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122418781791 

Media Coverage/Interviews:

Wisconsin Study Finds Foster Care Besting Reunification on Education Outcomes Chronicle of Social Change (July 23, 2018). 

 

System and Social Determinants of the Health of Foster Children

(Funding: R01 HD095946, NICHD)

This project investigates the impact of foster care, and specific experiences within foster care, on the physical and mental health of children exposed to abuse or neglect. The Aims of this proposal are: (1) Examine the effects of foster care on health over time; (2) Investigate the influence of placement experiences on foster children’s health during and after exiting foster care; and (3) Evaluate the effects of maintaining family connections on foster children’s health during and after exiting foster care.

Book: Font, Sarah A., and Elizabeth T. Gershoff. Forthcoming - 2020. Foster Care and “Best Interests of the Child”: Integrating Research, Policy, and Practice. Springer Advances in Child and Family Policy and Practice.  https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030411459

This brief volume examines the U.S. foster care system and seeks to explain why the foster care system functions as it does and how it can be improved to serve the best interest of children. It defines and evaluates key challenges that undermine child safety and well-being in the current foster care system. Chapters highlight the competing values and priorities of the system as well as the pros and cons for the use of foster care. In addition, chapters assess whether the performance objectives in which states are evaluated by the federal government are sufficient to achieve positive health and well-being outcomes for children who experience foster care. Finally, it offers recommendations for improving the system and maximizing positive outcomes.

Other Work

Font, Sarah A. 2020. Data Challenges and Opportunities in Child Welfare. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute. https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/data-challenges-and-opportunities-in-child-welfare/

 

Research Interests:

Family and Relationships:

child abuse and maltreatment, foster care, family policy