PhD, Social Work, University of Southern California
Cohort Two Fellow

Academic Mentor
Lawrence Palinkas
Professor, School of Social Work, University of Southern California

Policy Mentor
Wendy Cervantes
Vice President of Child and Immigrant Policy, First Focus

Current Institutional Affiliation
New Mexico State University: Assistant Professor

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care SystemsEconomic Supports for FamiliesEvidence-Based/Evidence-Informed Programs, Home Visiting and Maltreatment PreventionImplementation ScienceRegression ModelingGrounded TheoryMixed MethodsDual Language LearnersLow-Income Families and IndividualsRacial/Ethnic Minority Groups


Dr. Finno-Velasquez received her PhD in Social Work from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Currently, Dr. Finno-Velasquez is an associate professor at New Mexico State University and is the Director of The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare. This organization is a national peer membership organization that fosters cross-sector collaboration by linking and supporting professionals across the child welfare, immigration and legal fields. The center has focused on building capacity of the U.S. child welfare system to respond to the unique needs of immigrant families and children through research, resource development and dissemination, training and technical assistance, and national leadership by sponsoring cross-sector conferences, workgroups and advocacy initiatives.

Dr. Finno-Velasquez's research interests include children and families, child welfare and immigration policy, maltreatment prevention in Latino immigrant communities, cultural competence in child welfare services. She received her MSW from Highlands University in Las Vegas, NV and her Bachelors of Sciences in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.