PhD, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago (2014)
Cohort Two Fellow

Academic Mentor
Rachel Gordon
Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Policy Mentor
Womazetta Jones
Director of Children and Family Services, Project Director of Differential Response, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Current Institutional Affiliation
ICF: Manager

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care SystemsEconomic Supports for FamiliesEvidence-Based/Evidence-Informed ProgramsFamilies and Family SystemsImplementation ScienceProgram EvaluationWorkforce DevelopmentLatent Class Analysis or Cluster AnalysisLongitudinal Data AnalysisHierarchical Linear ModelingRegression ModelingAdolescents and Young AdultsFormerly Incarcerated IndividualsInfants and ToddlersLow-Income Families and IndividualsPreschool-aged Children


Dr. Kristin Abner has over a decade of experience conducting research and providing technical assistance for projects focused on social programming for vulnerable families. Her subject matter experience includes child welfare, differential response, Temporary Assistance for Needy families (TANF), the Earned Income Tax Credit, healthy marriage, responsible fatherhood, at-risk families and youth, child care, and transportation. Dr. Abner has managed tasks on technical assistance and clearinghouse efforts by leveraging her subject matter expertise and research background to provide relevant content for dissemination to practitioners, policymakers, and researchers in the field.  She also supports additional technical assistance and training efforts by writing reports, literature reviews, research-to-practice briefs, drafting surveys, and providing subject matter support.

She has experience conducting a variety of qualitative research including interviews, focus groups, and site visits. She gained quantitative research training in sociology and public affairs while pursuing her doctorate. She has presented work at multiple academic conferences and has published in peer-reviewed journals, including Sociological Spectrum, Social Service Review, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, the Journal of Marriage and Family, and the Journal of Social Service Research.

Dr. Abner received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in December 2014. Her dissertation was funded by a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being for 2012 to 2014, and builds knowledge on the role of the neighborhood and social support in child welfare involvement so that interventions can be designed to target the context in which families reside.