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 SystemsRacial/Ethnic Minority Groups, Home Visiting and Maltreatment Prevention


Dr. Finno-Velasquez received her PhD in Social Work from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Currently, Dr. Finno-Velasquez is an assistant professor at New Mexico State University and is the Director of The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare, 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 current work focuses on improving the broader child welfare system's response to the unique needs of children of immigrants and immigrant families at risk of child protective services involvement in the current immigration landscape. Her research interests include child welfare and immigration policy, maltreatment prevention in culturally diverse communities, and cultural competence in child welfare services. She received her MSW from Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM and her Bachelors of Sciences in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.