Calvin Morrill, Professor

Closed (1) Politics of Personhood: Child Welfare Agencies and the Growth of Perinatal Protective Policies

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

What is the role of child protection services in cases of pregnant and postpartum women struggling with drugs, alcohol, or other issues? At the intersection of law, health policy, and welfare history, this project offers a policy-based window into the world of women who encounter child welfare agency intervention and supervision during and after pregnancy. Using historical, legal, and policy data, we will examine how the role of child welfare agencies has evolved over time in the United States and in California. This research will help shed light on the role of child welfare during the drug crisis of 1980s and the opioid crisis of today. It will also help explain the struggle over reproductive rights in context of an increasing focus on maternal, fetal, and neonatal health.

Students’ primary responsibility is data collection and data coding. In the process, you will learn and practice a variety of research skills, including historical research, legal research and analysis, and qualitative data coding methods. Under close supervision, you will scan, code, and help analyze historical and current child welfare materials, such as journals, conference proceedings, and surveys. You will also learn how to find and code relevant laws and policies through legal and government documents database research.

While you will do the data coding on your own time, there will be ongoing hands-on mentorship and feedback during weekly (and sometimes twice weekly) meetings with the research manager. Together, we will collaboratively discover and make sense of this complex and uncharted research territory.



Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Matty Lichtenstein, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: An interest in social policy and child welfare; attention to detail; good reading, writing, and organizational skills; timeliness. Research experience is helpful but not required.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Some research can be completed off campus at a place of your choosing, while some research may require accessing databases on campus. In addition, attendance at meetings 1-2 times a week is mandatory.