Maria Cancian is a professor of public affairs and social work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has an accomplished record as an economics researcher and has produced over 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters dealing with poverty, welfare, and child support. Her main academic interest is learning about how the child welfare system interacts with the broader child support and welfare systems. She will use her Distinguished Fellows award to spend one summer and the following semester working full-time in the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). She will work with policymakers in the central DCF offices on a range of activities, including quality service reviews and child death reviews. She will shadow her mentors to gain a deeper appreciation of the day-to-day challenges of reorganizing a state welfare/child welfare bureaucracy, and spend an extended period of time shadowing child welfare caseworkers in two county offices to observe the intersection of policy and practice. Dr. Cancian will also work in the Department’s Office of Prevention Initiatives to learn more about efforts to foster cross-department coordination.
Cancian will use her Fellows award to better understand how the child welfare system interacts with the broader child support and welfare systems.