Research and Biography

Mark Courtney is a Professor in the School of Social Service Administration. His fields of special interest are child welfare policy and services, the connection between child welfare services and other institutions serving vulnerable populations, and the professionalization of social work. His current work includes studies of the adult functioning of former foster children, experimental evaluation of independent living services for foster youth, reunification of foster children with their families, and the influence of juvenile courts on the operation of the child welfare system.

Professor Courtney received his Ph.D. and M.S.W. from the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. He also received an MA in clinical psychology from the John F. Kennedy University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is an affiliated scholar of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, which he served as Director from 2001 to 2006 while he was a member of the SSA faculty. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Washington (2007-2010) and the University of Wisconsin (1992-2000).

He was the founding director of Partners for Our Children (POC), a public-private partnership housed at the University of Washington devoted to improving child welfare services. POC received the 2008 American Public Human Services Association Award for Academic Excellence.

Professor Courtney was named a Fellow to the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2012 and received the 2010 Peter W. Forsythe Award for leadership in public child welfare from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. He was also named Social Worker of the Year in 2000 by the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Before moving into academia, Professor Courtney worked for several years in various capacities providing group home care to abused and neglected adolescents. Professor Courtney has served as a consultant to the federal government, state departments of social services, local public and private child welfare agencies, and the philanthropic community.