Calvin Morrill, Professor

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

Applications for Spring 2019 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 survey, archival, 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. This project has multiple segments, and you may learn or improve any of the following skills: qualitative data coding, data cleaning, R programming for data analysis, interview transcription, and legal research and analysis. You will enjoy detailed feedback to help improve your research skills, and you will learn to conduct research both on your own and as part of a team.

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 and health policy; attention to detail; strong communication skills; excellent reading, writing, and organizational skills; timeliness. Computer science and programming skills are particularly useful for one aspect of the project, but this is not required. You will be required to provide a minimum average of 7 work hours a week.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 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 campus-based meetings 1-2 times a week is mandatory.