Leah Gjertson

Researcher

Dr. Leah Gjertson is a Researcher at Chapin Hall. She conducts applied research that aims to promote family economic security and to improve outcomes for youth touched by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Her current portfolio includes projects that support states to better use and analyze their public program data, and efforts to advance evidence-based policymaking through linkage of administrative data across levels of government. Other work investigates trauma among youth dually involved in child welfare and juvenile justice and examines program and policy issues in early care and education. Gjertson has experience with administrative data analysis, survey research, and experimental program evaluation. Each project is grounded in the belief that generating research findings with relevance for policy and practice requires strong collaboration with agency partners and stakeholders.

Prior to coming to Chapin Hall, Gjertson worked at the Center for Financial Security and the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she conducted research relating to child welfare and foster care as well as household economic security. She was also a Program and Policy Analyst with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, working in areas including administrative data quality, DNA collection, revocation, and earned release. Before that, she worked in the child welfare court system as a law clerk with the Middleton Center for Children’s Rights and the Iowa Office of the Attorney General Human Services Division.

Gjertson holds a PhD in Social Welfare and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School.

PhD in Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Master of Science in Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Juris Doctor, Drake University Law School

Gjertson, L. (2016, November). Economic wellbeing of youth aging out of foster care: Receipt of financial capability services. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Gjertson, L., Busso, D., Cheatham, L., Marsh, E., & Matone, M. (2016, June). Concurrence of disability and childbirth among young women with a childhood history of maltreatment and/or foster care. Poster presented at the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Colloquium, New Orleans, LA.

Gjertson, L. (2016, January). Examining the cycle: Maltreatment of children among parents with a history of foster care. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Gjertson, L. (2016, January). Economic wellbeing of youth aging out of foster care: Receipt of financial capability services. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Gjertson, L., Collins, J. M., & Warmath, D. (2015, November). On the measurement of emergency savings. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Conference, Miami, FL.

Gjertson, L., Porto, N., Rothwell, D., & Cherney, K. (2015, November). Child saving accounts: A cross-national comparison of policies in Canada and the United States. Poster presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Gjertson, L. (2015, November). Data and Metrics for Municipal Financial Inclusion. Webinar presented at the Center for Financial Security, Madison, WI.

Gjertson, L. (2015, September). Economic wellbeing of youth aging out of foster care. Paper presented at the Secretary’s Advisory Council on Child Welfare, WI Department of Children and Families, Madison, WI.

Gjertson, L. (2015, August). Foster care and intergenerational risk: Evidence from the Add Health and the NLSY97. Paper presented at the Economic Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment Workshop: Doris Duke Fellows. Workshop Session, Institute for Research on Poverty, Madison, WI.

Gjertson, L. (2014, May). City scan of financial inclusion efforts: Survey results. Paper presented at the Financial Inclusion Roundtable, National League of Cities, Washington, DC.

Gjertson, L., Porto, N., Rothwell, D., & Cherney, K. (2014, January). Child saving accounts: A cross-national comparison of policies in Canada and the United States. Poster presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Conference, Miami, FL.

Gjertson, L. (2014, January). Emergency saving and household outcomes. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Gjertson, L. (2014, January). Emergency saving and household outcomes. Poster presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Conference, Baltimore MD.

Gjertson, L. (2014, January). Lower interest for timely payments: A field experiment on incentives for loan repayment. Webinar presented at the Center for Financial Security, Madison, WI.

Gjertson, L. (2013, December). Emergency savings: Next steps in an evolving field. Paper presented at the Mott Foundation State Assets Coalition Convening, Washington, DC.

Gjertson, L. (2013, December). Emergency Savings: Next Steps in an Evolving Field. Paper presented at the Assets and Opportunity Network Convening, CFED, Washington, DC.

Collins, J. M., Gjertson, L., & Sydnor, J. (2017). Incentives for loan repayments: Evidence from a randomized field study. Journal of Consumer Affairs. doi: 10.1111/joca.12142

Berger, L. M., Collins, J. M., Font, S. A., Gjertson, L., Slack, K. S., & Smeeding, T. (2015). Home foreclosure and child protective services involvement. Pediatrics, 136(2), 299-307. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2832

Gjertson, L. (2014). Emergency Saving and Household Hardship. Journal of Family and Economic Issues37(1), 1-17. doi: 10.1007/s10834-014-9434-z

Collins, J. M., Gjertson, L., & O’Rourke, C. (2016). MyBudgetCoach pilot evaluation: Final report. Madison, WI: Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Collins, J. M., Sydnor, J., & Gjertson, L. (2014). Lower Interest for Timeliness (LIFT) pilot: Final report. Madison, WI: Filene Research Institute.

Collins, J. M., & Gjertson, L. (2013). Emergency savings for low-income consumers. Focus, 30(1).

Maguire-Jack, K., & Gjertson, L. (2012). Project GAIN training and implementation manual. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund.

Collins, J. M., & Gjertson, L. (2012). Paying for the unexpected: Making the case for a new generation of emergency savings, affording contingencies, and liquid resources for low income consumers. Madison, WI: Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Chase, S., Gjertson, L., & Collins, J. M. (2011). Coming up with cash in a pinch: Emergency savings and its alternatives. Madison, WI: Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Slack, K. S., Jack, K. M., & Gjertson, L. (Eds). (2009). Child maltreatment prevention: State of the evidence- based research. Madison, WI: Institute for Research on Poverty and School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin- Madison.