PhD, Social Work, Rutgers University
Cohort Six Fellow

Academic Mentor
Michael MacKenzie
Chancellor's Scholar for Well-Being and Associate Professor of Social Work and Pediatrics, School of Social Work, Rutgers University

Policy Mentor
Debra Lancaster
Director of Strategic Development, New Jersey Department of Children and Families

Current Institutional Affiliation
MEF Associates: Senior Research Associate

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, Early Childhood Education and Initiatives, Mixed Methods


Kate Stepleton is a Senior Research Associate with MEF Associates, engaged in research projects examining social policies at federal, state, and local levels. She has expertise in child and family research and policy, particularly in the areas of child welfare, maltreatment prevention, early childhood, and child well-being.

Prior to joining MEF, Kate managed research projects at Rutgers University School of Social Work. She also served in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and was an Associate with the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from Rutgers, an MSW from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and a BA in Sociology from Barnard College.