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Karen M. Kolivoski

Assistant Professor of Social Work, Howard University

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About Karen

Kolivoski's research focuses on the intersections of the child welfare, juvenile, and criminal justice system as well as on broader social justice issues related to social work, social policy, and race. Specifically, she addresses issues related to maltreated children and youths' involvement in multiple service systems, including how systems experiences shape outcomes and how systems can improve communication and collaboration for better youth outcomes. Kolivoski is involved in local and national research that addresses this population know as "crossover youth." She is a member of the Society for Social Work and Research, the Council on Social Work Education, and the American Society of Criminology, and serves on the editorial boards for the journal of Children and Poverty and the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.


"Social Justice for Crossover Youth: The Intersection of the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems" (with Sara Goodkind and Jeffrey J. Shook). Social Work 62, no. 4 (2017): 313-321.

Utilizes a historical perspective to examine the treatment of crossover youth, from slavery to present-day in the United States, especially highlighting the experiences of African American youth. Incorporates a human rights and social justice perspective.

"Placement Type Matters: Placement Experiences in Relation to Justice System Involvement among Child Welfare-Involved Youth and Young Adults" (with Jeffrey J. Shook, Kevin H. Kim, and Sara Goodkind). Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 27, no. 8 (2017): 847-864.

Investigates trajectory group experiences on each of three child welfare placement types, and cross-tabulate each with justice system trajectory groups to examine sub-groups.

"Incarcerating Juveniles in Adult Prisons: Examining the Relationship between Age and Prison Behavior in Transferred Juveniles" (with Jeffrey J. Shook). Criminal Justice and Behavior 43, no. 9 (2016): 1242-1259.

Examines the prison behavior of youth who are transferred to the adult system. Shows that juveniles committed to prisons at younger ages accumulate more misconducts than those committed at older ages. Indicates that African American youth, youth with mental health issues, youth with more extensive prior histories in the juvenile system, and youth committed for property and weapons offenses accumulated more prison misconducts.

"Applying Legal Socialization to the Child Welfare System: Do Youths' Perceptions of Caseworkers Matter?" (with Jeffrey j. Shook, Heath C. Johnson, Sara Goodkind, Rachel Fusco, Matt DeLisi, and Michael G. Vaughn). Child & Youth Care Forum 45, no. 1 (2016): 65-83.

Indicates that youth with more negative perceptions of caseworkers view the legal system as less legitimate and exhibit lower overall legal socialization and that legal socialization is significantly related to delinquency.

"The Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM)," (with Elizabeth Barnett and Samuel Abbott), Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, January 1, 2015.

Describes the Crossover Youth Practice Model (CYPM) and how addressing out-of-home placements is a key part to improving the outcomes of dually involved/multi-system youth.