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Cassandra Simmel, PhD

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Associate Professor in the School of Social Work

csimmel@ssw.rutgers.edu, (848) 932-5389

Cassandra Simmel is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work. Dr. Simmel’s primary research interests involve child welfare policies, programs, and services as well as the long-¬term developmental and mental health outcomes of child maltreatment. Her interests span both domestic and international child welfare programs and interventions. She has a particular focus on adolescents who are involved or at risk of involvement with the child welfare system or who are in the process of aging out of foster care, including how their mental health and psychosocial needs are measured, understood, and addressed. Prior to her position at Rutgers, she was a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Child Policy Research Fellow for three years at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this position, she implemented and oversaw several research projects related to child welfare, child maltreatment, the promotion of child well-being, and Head Start research. While at SRCD she developed a strong interest in the intersection of science and policy, particularly in how research can be translated and disseminated to advancing the development of and advocacy for policies that serve vulnerable populations.

In addition to her faculty position at Rutgers University, Dr. Simmel held an appointment as the Lead Consultant for Research and Evaluation at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) from 2010-2014. She partnered with DCF to implement research projects geared to obtaining a deeper understanding of the challenges, strengths, and service needs of the diverse populations of children and youth served by DCF. In 2014, she served as the Acting Co-Director of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) at the Rutgers School of Social Work and is now a Faculty Affiliate of VAWC. Currently she is a Faculty Affiliate of the Research Unit on Child Welfare and Child Well-being at the School of Social Work and the Founding Director of the new MSW Certificate program on Promoting Child and Adolescent Well-being.