Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis
Cohort Five Fellow

Academic Mentor
Patricia Kohl
Associate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis George Warren Brown School of Social Work

Policy Mentor
Halbert Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer, Fathers' Support Center

Research Interests
Child Neglect; Parent Training; Mental Health; Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions; Prevention Research

Areas of Expertise

Evidence-Based/Evidence-Informed Programs, Home Visiting and Maltreatment Prevention, Implementation Science, Regression Modeling, Content Analysis, Mixed Methods, Fathers, Infants and Toddlers, Low-Income Families and Individuals, Preschool-aged Children, Video Microanalysis, Group Model Building (Systems Dynamics)

Ericka Lewis is a doctoral student and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Predoctoral Fellow at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Ms. Lewis’s research interests include child neglect, mental health, prevention research, and implementation science. Ms. Lewis currently works as a research assistant on three federally funded studies at the university’s Center for Violence and Injury Prevention, as well as the Dissemination and Implementation Research Core. Prior to her doctoral studies, she was a senior training specialist at the National SafeCare Training and Research Center (NSTRC), where her work focused on the implementation of an evidence-based parenting intervention to prevent child maltreatment. Ms. Lewis holds a B.A. in Psychology from West Georgia University and a M.S.W. from Georgia State University. 


No Father Left Behind: Exploring Positive Father Involvement as a Protective Factor in the Prevention of Neglect and Adverse Child Outcomes

Child neglect accounts for close to 80% of all substantiated child welfare reports and is responsible for a large portion of the $585 billion lifetime cost of child maltreatment. This phenomenon has been linked to anxiety, aggression, and emotional withdrawal in children. Despite empirical findings highlighting the relationship between positive father behaviors and child well-being, the evidence on the role fathers play in neglect prevention efforts is scant. Leading scholars have specifically called for research that examines father factors influencing maternal risk for child neglect. This dissertation study is responsive to the call and will use data from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) to examine the role of father involvement in the reduction of neglect and adverse child outcomes over time. Understanding these relationships sets the stage for the development and implementation of evidence-based neglect prevention programs that include fathers as a protective factor.