Fred Wulczyn

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Fred Wulczyn is a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of the Center for State Child Welfare Data. The work of the Data Center is organized around the use of research evidence in public and private child welfare agencies. A core asset of the Data Center is the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive, which for more than 25 years has been an important source of research evidence used by public and private child welfare agencies to manage their programs. The Data Center provides support to more than 20 states across the US and touches broadly on the problem of increasing research evidence use: building opportunity, creating capacity, and increasing motivation. Wulczyn’s work has focused on how states respond to children who are unable to live at home. He brings a multidisciplinary perspective to this work, drawing inspiration from disciplines such as mathematics, population biology, human development, sociology, system dynamics, and social work. His contributions to research evidence use focuses on the evidence needed to operate complex systems. In addition, his current work on human capital formation in New York City addresses the way policymakers think about child well-being and public investment in children.

After helping to launch Chapin Hall in 1985, Wulczyn spent a decade working for the New York State Department of Social Services. During his tenure there, he developed two waiver programs. The Child Assistance Program changed how the state provided financial support to single mothers. The Home Rebuilders Program led to the National Waiver Program, used by more than 30 states to promote innovation.

Wulczyn received a PhD from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, a Master of Social Work from Marywood University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Juniata College.

Ph.D., School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago

Master of Social Work, Marywood University

Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology, Juniata College

Selected Presentations, 2017

Wulczyn, F. (2017, December). Child Welfare and Child Protection: Federal Perspectives. Presented at the International Symposium on Child Welfare and Protection, Haikou City, Hainan Province, China.

Wulczyn, F. (2017, December). Child Protection Systems: State and Local Perspectives. Presented at the International Symposium on Child Welfare and Protection, Haikou City, Hainan Province, China.

Wulczyn, F. (2017, November). The Black / White Placement Gap. Presented at the ADRF Network Inaugural Conference, Washington, D.C.

Wulczyn, F. (2017, July). The Value-Added Effects of Fast Track Adoption Policy. Presented at the 35th International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Prague, Czech Republic.

Wulczyn, F. & Swisher, D. (2017, June). Using resources to promote program flexibility beyond the waiver. Presented at the 19th Annual Waiver Demonstration meeting, Arlington, VA.

Wulczyn, F., Dreyfus, S., Fitzsimmons, K., Cristalli, M. (2017, May). The Evidence for Using Evidence: Public, Private, and Philanthropic Perspectives. Presented at APHSA, Baltimore, MD.

Wulczyn, F. & Feldman, S. (2017, April). Approaches to evaluating systems outcomes. Presented at the Casey Family Programs Waiver Evaluator Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Wulczyn, F. & Halloran, J. (2017, April). Modeling Complexity in Human-Built Systems: New Approaches, New Findings in Foster Care. Presented at the CAPS Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Wulczyn, F., Wagner, A. & Hummel, J. (2017, January). OSPEDALE: An Agent-based Simulation system for Child Welfare Analytics. Presented at the Informs Computing Society Conference, Austin, TX.

Lopez Lopez, M., Wulczyn, F. H., Bouma, H., Van Santen, E. & Grietens, H. (2017, January). Child Protection Across Borders: Comparing Policy and Systems. Presented at SSWR, New Orleans, LA.

Wulczyn, F. H., Price, K. M. & Alpert, L. (2017, January). Research Evidence Use and Outcomes in the Child Welfare System. Presented at SSWR, New Orleans, LA.

Fellow, American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare
Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, Marywood University
James E. Flynn Prize for Research, University of Southern California School of Social Work
Peter A. Forsythe Award for Leadership in Child Welfare, National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Juniata College
Distinguished Alumni Award, Marywood University


Haskins, R., Wulczyn, F., & Webb, M. B. (eds). (2007). Child protection: Using research to improve policy and practice. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Wulczyn, F., Barth, R., Jones Harden, B., Landsverk, J., & Yuan, Y. Y. (2005). Beyond common sense: Child welfare, child well-being, and the evidence for policy reform. New York, NY: Aldine Transaction, Inc.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Wulczyn, F., & Halloran, J. (2017). Foster care dynamics and system science: Implications for research and Policy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(10), 1181.

Wulczyn, F., Vesneski, W., Huhr, S., Monahan-Price, K., Martinez, Z., Verhulst, C. & Weiss, A. (2016). The Value-Added Impact of Fast-Track Adoption Policy on Adoption Rates. Global Social Welfare, 3(2), 97-106.

Wulczyn, F., Alpert, L., Monahan-Price, K., Huhr, S., Palinkas, & Pinsoneault, L. (2015). Research Evidence Use in the Child Welfare System. Child Welfare, 94(2), 141-165.

Chamberlain, P., Feldman, S. W., Wulczyn, F., Saldana, L., & Forgatch, M. (2015). Implementation and Evaluation of Linked Parenting Models in a Large Urban Child Welfare System. Child Abuse & Neglect, 53, 27-39.

Goldhaber-Fiebert, J. D., Babiarz, K. S., Garfield, R. L., Wulczyn, F., Landsverk, J., & Horwitz, S. M. (2014). Explaining variations in state foster care maintenance rates and the implications for implementing new evidence-based programs. Children and Youth Services Review, 39, 183–206.

Holmes, L., Landsverk, J., Ward, H., Rolls-Reutz, J., Saldana, L., Wulczyn, F., & Chamberlain, P. (2014). Cost calculator methods for estimating casework time in child welfare services: A promising approach for use in implementation of evidence-based practices and other service innovations. Children and Youth Services Review, 39, 169–176.

Wulczyn, F., & Landsverk, J. (2014). Research to practice in child welfare systems: Moving forward with implementation research. Children and Youth Services Review, 39, 145–146.

Landsverk, J. A., & Wulczyn, F. H. (2013). Child placement as a response to child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine. (Paper commissioned by the Committee on Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade, IOM, Washington, DC). (unpublished)

Wulczyn, F., Gibbons, R., Snowden, L., & Lery, B. (2013). Poverty, Social Disadvantage, and the Black/White Placement Gap. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 65–74.

Goldhaber-Fiebert, J. D., Snowden, L. R., Wulczyn, F., Landsverk, J., & Horwitz, S. M. (2011). Economic evaluation research in the context of Child Welfare policy: A structured literature review and recommendations. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(9), 722–740.

Goldhaber-Fiebert, J. D., Bailey, S. L., Hurlburt, M. S., Zhang, J., Snowden, L. R., Wulczyn, F., Landsverk J., & Horwitz, S.M. (2011). Evaluating Child Welfare Policies with Decision-Analytic Simulation Models. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 1–12.

Wulczyn, F., Chen, L., & Courtney, M. (2011). Family reunification in a social structural context. Children and Youth Services Review, 33 (3), 424-430.

Wulczyn, F., Chen, L., & Orlebeke, B. (2009). Evaluating contract agency performance in achieving reunification. Children and Youth Services Review, 31 (5), 506-512.

Wulczyn, F. (2009). Epidemiological perspectives on maltreatment prevention. The Future of Children, 19(2), 39-66.

Wulczyn, F., Smithgall, C., & Chen, L. (2009). Child well-being: The intersection of schools and child welfare. Review of Research in Education, 33(1), 35-62.

Wulczyn, F., Chen, L., & Hislop, K. (2006). Adoption dynamics and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Social Service Review, 80(4), 585-608.

Wulczyn, F., & Zimmerman, E. (2005). Sibling placements in longitudinal perspective. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(7), 741-763.

Wulczyn, F. (2005). From anticipation to evidence: Research on the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, 12, 371-399.

Courtney, M., Needell, B., & Wulczyn, F. (2004). Unintended consequences of the push for accountability: The case of national child welfare performance standards. Children and Youth Services Review, 26(12), 1141-1154.

Wulczyn, F. (2004). Family reunification. The Future of Children, 14(1), 94-113.

Wulczyn, F., Kogan, J., & Jones Harden, B. (2003). Placement stability and movement trajectories. Social Service Review, 77(2), 212-236.

Wulczyn, F. (2003). Closing the gap: Are changing exit patterns affecting the time African American children spend in foster care relative to Caucasian children. Children and Youth Services Review, 25(5/6), 431-462.

Baker, A., Wulczyn, F., & Dale, N. (2005). Covariates of length of stay in residential treatment. Child Welfare, 84(3), 363-386.

Wulczyn, F., Brunner Hislop, K., & Jones Harden, B. (2002). The placement of infants in foster care. Infant Mental Health Journal, 23(5), 454-475.

Wulczyn, F., Kogan, J., & Dilts, J. (2001). The effect of population dynamics on performance measurement. Social Service Review, 75(2), 292-317.

Wulczyn, F., & Orlebeke, B. (2000). Fiscal reform and managed care in child welfare services. Policy & Practice of Public Human Services, 58(3).

Wulczyn, F., Orlebeke, B., & Melamid, E. (2000). Measuring contract agency performance with administrative data. Child Welfare, 79(5), 457-474.

Wulczyn, F. (2000). Federal fiscal reform in child welfare services. Children and Youth Services Review, 22(2), 131-159.

Wulczyn, F. (1996). A statistical and methodological framework for analyzing the foster care experiences of children. Social Service Review, 70(2), 318-329.

Goerge, R., Wulczyn, F., & Harden, A. (1997). New comparative insights into states and their foster children. Spectrum: Journal of State Government, 70(1), 30.

Goerge, R., Wulczyn, F., & Fanshel, D. (1994). A foster care research agenda for the ’90S. Child Welfare, 73(5), 525-549.

Wulczyn, F., & Goerge, R. (1992). Foster care in New York and Illinois: The challenge of rapid change. Social Service Review, 66(2), 278-294.

Wulczyn, F. (1991). Caseload dynamics and foster care reentry. Social Service Review, 65(1), 133-156.

Book Chapters

Wulczyn, F., Lery, B., & Snowden, L. Bridgette Lery, & Lonnie Snowden. (2014). Poverty and the black/white placement gap: Using context to understand the role of evidence-based interventions. In A. Shlonksy & R. Benbenishty (Eds.), From evidence to outcomes in child welfare: An international reader (pp. 105-116). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Wulczyn F. H., Feldman S., Horwitz S.M., & Alpert, L. (2014) Child maltreatment prevention: The problem of resource allocation. In J. Korbin & R. Krugman (Eds.), Handbook of child maltreatment (pp. 341-350). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Goerge, R., Wulczyn, F., & Harden, A. (1999). Foster care dynamics. In P. Curtis, G. Dale, & J. Kendall. (Eds.), The foster care crisis: Translating research into policy and practice (pp. 17-44). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Wulczyn, F. (1997). Methodological considerations in outcomes management in family and child welfare. In E. Mullen & J. Magnabosco (Eds.), Outcomes measurement in the human services (pp. 181-188). Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Wulczyn, F. (1996). Child welfare reform, managed care, and reinvestment. In A. Kahn & S. Kamerman (Eds.), Children and their families in big cities: Strategies for service reform. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Wulczyn, F. (1996). HomeRebuilders: A family reunification demonstration. In R. Barth, J. Duerr-Berrick, & N. Gilbert (Eds.), Child welfare research review, Vol. 2 (pp. 252-271). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Wulczyn, F. (1994). Birth status and infant foster care placements in New York City. In R. Barth, J. Duerr-Berrick, & N. Gilbert (Eds.), Child welfare research review, Vol. 1 (pp. 146-184). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Key Work

Key Work

Building Evidence on New York City’s Efforts to Provide Comprehensive Supports for Youth in Foster Care
This project examines whether New York City's Fair Futures Program is meeting its goals.
August 2, 2023
Evaluation of Fair Futures Shows a Well-Developed but Still Emerging Model for Working with Young People in Foster Care
This report details the findings from an 18-month study of the implementation of the Fair Futures initiative. 
Intercept Program Evaluation Shows Reductions in Likelihood of Out-of-home Placement
This report describes Intercept, the Center for State Child Welfare Data’s evaluation of the program, and the extent to which the findings demonstrate an impact...
Effective Use of Administrative Data Can Strengthen Efforts to Maintain a Stable Supply of High-Quality Foster Homes
In this report, we demonstrate the potential of administrative data to contribute robust evidence in support of child welfare systems’ efforts to maintain a...
Developmental Perspective Important when Considering Placement Options
This report highlights the importance of understanding placement outcomes from a developmental perspective and how outcomes differ for young people depending on...
Use of Research Evidence Leads to Faster Permanency for Youth in Foster Care
Research evidence is information that has been generated according to scientific principles and practices. The term research evidence use – or REU – refers to...
Show more