In The Media

Meshing academics and fun for a summer program like no other

October 4, 2021

Penn Today

A group from the Penn Graduate School of Education, including Faculty Director Caroline Watts, and the Netter Center for Community Partnerships teamed up for a new project dubbed “Bridging Gaps and Building Capacity,” which received an inaugural Projects for Progress award to ready young learners for returning to in-person school this fall, and boost teachers’ confidence.

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Understanding the Pandemic Classroom

August 31, 2021

Penn Today

In the latest episode of Penn Today’s “Understand This…” podcast, Faculty Director and Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education, Caroline Watts and her colleague Philip Gressman, a math professor from the School of Arts & Sciences, talk about their experiences as educators during the early days of the pandemic, lessons learned, and how the classroom might look and feel different in the coming months.

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Beyond Foster Care

July 15, 2021

Harvard Political Review

Managing Faculty Director and Associate Professor, Dr. Johanna Greeson, recently spoke with Harvard Political Review about young people aging out of foster care and stressed the importance of relationship-centered solutions. Dr. Greeson said, “Let’s get away from the idea that the goal is for these young people to be independent. None of us are independent. We all rely on the relationships we have; we live interdependently, that’s what the goal should be for youth who age out of foster care.”

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Five tips for talking to young children about COVID-19 today

June 25, 2021

Penn Today

Faculty Director and Psychologist Caroline Watts offers parents language they can use to talk openly as a family about the newest phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Watts says, “Part of what’s been extremely challenging for parents is dealing with the impact of the pandemic on our own lives, our livelihoods, our day-to-day circumstances and managing how we feel.”

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COVID-19 Relief Funds Put Former Foster Kid on Stable Ground

May 31, 2021

Associated Press

The pandemic has impacted many. But according to a survey and study by Penn’s Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, the effects were particularly pronounced on older foster youth and those who have aged out of care.

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A mental health checkup for children and adolescents, a year into COVID

May 27, 2021

Penn Today

As a whole, this group experienced a significant short-term psychological toll. Though the long-term consequences aren’t yet known, particularly given how the year disproportionately exacerbated adverse childhood experiences, Penn experts, including Co-Faculty Director Dr. Sara Jaffee remain cautiously optimistic. Jaffee said, “Most kids are pretty resilient. It’s likely that once things go back to normal, they will not experience lasting and impairing symptoms.”

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Inaugural Projects for Progress recipients announced

May 18, 2021

Penn Today

The University announced Friday its inaugural Projects for Progress prize recipients, which include three teams of Penn students, faculty, and staff. The teams, awarded up to $100,000 each to support their initiatives, all enhance and promote equity and inclusion in Philadelphia by addressing health care, education, and environmental justice, respectively.

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Penn seniors target eating disorder risk at Philadelphia public high schools

May 6, 2021

Penn Today

Christina Miranda and Amanda Moreno in the College of Arts and Sciences were chosen for the President’s Engagement Prize for their Be Body Positive Philly project to address eating disorder risk among Philadelphia public high school students. Caroline Watts, director of school and community engagement at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, is the pair’s mentor for the project.

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Spotlight on Youth Transitioning Out of Care

March 2021

Children’s Bureau Express

COVID-19 has had a large impact on all levels of society. It has exposed weaknesses in systems and exacerbated disparities among the most vulnerable. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on older youth in foster care and those who have recently aged out. This population often has intersecting vulnerabilities and too often lack concrete and social supports, resulting in them struggling with their well-being and security.

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COVID-19 Strips Safety Net for Foster Youth ‘Aging Out’ During Pandemic

December 8, 2020

MedPage Today

Last October when Larry Malcolm Smith Jr. approached his 21st birthday — the year most foster youth in New York City leave the system — he thought he would be linked to healthcare, housing, and job opportunities before gaining his independence. Instead, he walked out of his agency’s doors with a MetroCard allowing a single round trip on the city’s buses and subways.

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The Sulfonamide Revolution and Children’s Health Care Delivery in the US

October 8, 2020

Circulating Now – NIH

Cynthia Connolly, PhD, RN, FAAN, will speak on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM ET. This program will be live-streamed globally, and archived, by NIH VideoCasting. Dr. Connolly is Professor of Nursing, Rosemarie B. Greco Endowed Term Chair in Advocacy, and Associate Director, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Circulating Now interviewed her about her upcoming talk.

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Radio Times – Regional Roundup

October 5, 2020


As the second guest on the show, University of Pennsylvania researcher and Associate Professor Johanna Greeson discusses the hardships facing youth who are aging out of foster care during the pandemic. (Section begins at 13:50.)

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Who did the pandemic hit worst? Young adults aging out of foster care felt an economic slam, new survey shows

September 23, 2020

Billy Penn

Advocates in Pa. say there are ways to mitigate the disaster, but officials must act.

For Philly resident Lexi Andino, September has looked a lot like the six months before it: a struggle for food, work, and emotional support. She works two jobs, one of which reduced her work hours after the coronavirus hit. School has become harder, since virtual learning deprived her of the personal contact that meant so much to her.

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133rd Age-Out Angels Radio Hour

August 31, 2020

Hamilton Radio

Have Youth in Foster Care Suffered During COVID? Can Youth in Foster Care Increase their 3% College Graduation Rate? Did Redlining in the 1930’s Contribute to Wealth Inequality? Guests Johanna Greeson and Sarah Wasch both from the University of Pennsylvania offer evidence-based insights. (Audio starts at 1:50).

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Richard Gelles, scholar of family violence and child-welfare system, dies at 73

July 12, 2020

The Washington Post

Richard J. Gelles, a leading scholar of domestic violence and the child-welfare system who broke with many of his colleagues — and reversed his own long-standing beliefs — when he declared that it was more important to protect children from abuse than to preserve families, died June 26 at his home in Philadelphia. He was 73.

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Rising Voices For ‘Family Power’ Seek to Abolish The Child Welfare System

July 8, 2020

The Chronicle of Social Change

When a young pregnant mom informed her prenatal care providers that she had smoked marijuana to relieve stress, nausea and poor appetite, they didn’t seem concerned. But after the birth of her son a few years ago in a Bronx hospital, a test of the baby’s urine came back positive for cannabis, and the hospital quickly called child welfare authorities.

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Richard Gelles, Pioneer in Family Violence Research, Dead from Brain Cancer

July 6, 2020

The Chronicle of Social Change

Richard Gelles, a well-known researcher on family violence and former head of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, died in late June of brain cancer at the age of 73.

“Child welfare has lost a character and a thoughtful champion,” said Cassie Statuto Bevan, a colleague at the university, in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change.

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Police killings and Black mental health

June 23, 2020

Penn Today

Specialists from across the Penn community discuss the mental health impacts of Black people being subjected to videos of African Americans being killed by the police.

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An Impact Conversation: Investing In Older Foster Care Youth

June 11, 2020

Made for Freedom Foundation

Meet Johanna Greeson, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Child Wellbeing and Child Welfare. Johanna shares how her passion for justice led her to child welfare work and eventually resulted in the creation of her own intervention pilot and research study. She explores both the need for mentors and interdependence for older youth and explains the barriers that she is attempting to break down within the foster care system. Johanna’s work is shifting an essential conversation regarding older youth in the foster care system and providing accessible support during their transition into adulthood.

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Wolf to foster youth: Executive powers tapped for shutdowns don’t extend to your aid

May 18, 2020

Billy Penn

Advocates for Pennsylvania foster youth are putting Governor Tom Wolf on blast, saying his response to requests for help during the pandemic fails to tap into executive powers he’s used widely elsewhere.

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Preparing Foster Youth for Adulting Podcast with Dr. Johanna Greeson

May 10, 2020

Aging Out Institute

In this episode, Lynn Tonini interviews Dr. Johanna Greeson, Associate Professor and Managing Faculty Director of The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Greeson shares the research that she has published regarding youth aging out of foster care, the program she has developed on natural mentoring, how important it is for organizations to be able to demonstrate that their programs are supported by research, and a current study she is involved in regarding the impact that the current COVID-19 crisis is having on youth aging out of the system.

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Coming Crisis: Stress From Pandemic is Hurting Families. How Can We Help Them Now?

April 23, 2020

NBC Philadelphia

A chorus of child and family advocates is warning that state and local governments aren’t doing all they can to prevent or prepare for a potential surge of families coming into the child welfare system as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — and a crisis could result as new cases and a backlog of old ones compete for attention.

“We’re in danger of seeing a large number of families that are going to struggle with basic needs,” said Kara Finck, who directs the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic at Penn Law, “who should be treated with concrete supports and resources and not enmeshed in the child welfare system.”
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Adjustments to Remote Teaching Due to COVID-19

April 14, 2020

The University of Pennsylvania Almanac

The move to remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded rapid and unprecedented adjustments from Penn faculty and instructors and students. Below, seven faculty and instructors briefly tell their stories of those adjustments and of how they have worked to make their classes as successful as possible in this moment.
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Parents asked questions about living in lockdown. Penn GSE experts answered

April 14, 2020

Penn Today

Stay-at-home orders, closed schools, and pandemic-induced anxiety are taking their toll on families.

We asked parents to send us questions about problems that were arising in their homes. They asked about short tempers, sleeping routines, screen time, parental roles, and if this is the right time to get a dog.
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Coronavirus nursing shortage? Three ways to get more nurses — now. | Expert Opinion

March 27, 2020

The Philadelphia Inquirer

As historians of nursing, we know that during critical times, there have never been enough nurses to care for patients in hospitals.

There have never been enough to care for those sick at home, or for those discharged early to make room for those suffering through a pandemic, like the one we are facing now as the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe.
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Richard Gelles Receives SSWR Social Policy Researcher Award

January 31, 2020

SP2 News

Richard J. Gelles, PhD, former dean of Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), was honored for his distinguished career achievements at the 2020 Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) conference, held this year in Washington, DC. At the SSWR Awards Ceremony, Gelles was presented with the prestigious Social Policy Researcher Award, which commemorated his cumulative career accomplishments, prolific scholarship, and exemplary leadership in social work and policy research.
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