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Emily Douglas

Chairperson, Social Work and Child Advocacy

Dickson Hall
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Emily Douglas is a professor and chair of the Department of Social Work & Child Advocacy. Douglas joined the Montclair State faculty in fall 2020 coming from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where she was also a full professor and department head. Her research focuses on the program and policy implications of issues that address child and family well-being, largely in the areas of family violence: fatal child maltreatment, under-represented victims of partner violence and help-seeking, children’s exposure to partner violence, corporal punishment, family disruption, and the connection between research and policy. Dr. Douglas is the author of 60+ peer-reviewed publications, 4 books, and she presents annually at domestic and international conferences. Dr. Douglas has spoken at the State Houses in Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut and provided invited testimony before a Congressionally-created committee focused on children’s deaths. In 2016-2017 she was a Congressional fellow in Washington, D.C., dually sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology; during this time, she held a position in the U.S. Senate where she was the lead author on an investigation concerning for-profit foster care.


In 2016-2017 I was a Congressional fellow in Washington, D.C., dually sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology. In this position, I worked for Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon) and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee where I assisted in the investigation regarding the privatization and mistreatment high-risk, medically fragile children in foster care in the U.S. and was a lead author on the resulting report. Prior to my current academic post, I was on the faculty in the School of Social Work at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts from 2006-2017.

My research focuses on child and family well-being, with a strong focus on policy and programmatic implications. Specifically, my expertise lies in fatal child maltreatment, men who experience partner violence and seek help, divorced families, and corporal punishment. I am also especially interested in the use of research to inform policy-making.

I have recently completed my fourth book, Child Maltreatment Fatalities in the United States: Four Decades of Policy, Program, and Other Professional Responses. It was released by Springer in August 2016.

In 2014, I testified before the U.S. National Commission on the Elimination of Child Abuse & Neglect Fatalities. In 2015, I spoke at the Massachusetts State House as part of the Family Impact Seminar about fatal child maltreatment and the community providers.

Dr. Denise Hines and I investigate the physical health and mental health of men who seek help for partner violence victimization and the health and behavioral health of their children. Our research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In 2013, my co-authored book on corporal punishment, with Drs. Murray Straus and Rose Medeiros, was released: The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime (Routledge/Francis & Taylor).

For the 2010-2011 academic year I was the Presidential Fellow at Bridgewater State University, which enabled me to spend this time as a visiting research fellow at the internationally known Family Research Laboratory, at the University of New Hampshire, where I conducted a study on the intersection of the helping professionals and fatal child maltreatment.

I am the founder and chair of the former National Research Conference on Child and Family Programs and Policy that was held between 2008-2012 at Bridgewater State University. In my previous positions I was an assistant extension professor at the University of New Hampshire in the Department of Family Studies. I was also co-chair of the 9th International Family Violence Research Conference held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in July, 2005 . Between 2002-2004 I was a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Murray Straus at the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. I completed my doctorate in public policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2002.