Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families
Dr. Rowena Fong, the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW). She is the founding Co-Chair of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenges Executive Committee and the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI). She has served nationally as a past President of the Society for Social Work and Research (2009-2013) and is an inaugural Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research. A former member of the Children’s Bureau’s, Child Welfare Evaluation Workgroup, of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Dr. Fong is currently serving as a board member of the North American Council on Adoptable Children and has served as a board member of the National Advisory Board of In-Home Services.
Dr. Fong received her BA in Chinese Studies and Psychology from Wellesley College, her MSW in Children and Families from UC Berkeley, and her Ed.D. in Human Development from Harvard University
Dr. Fong’s current research focuses on post permanency preservation and supports in public child welfare systems and on transracial and intercountry adoptions. In collaboration with Spaulding for Children in Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, she is currently the Co-Principal Investigator for the UT portion of $1.65 million dollar, for a 5 year $23.4 million grant (2014-2019), for the National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation, funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children Youth and Families. The grant is to develop evidence-based models of support and intervention that can be replicated or adapted in public child welfare systems for children, who are waiting for adoptive homes as well as for children and families after adoption has been finalized. The long-term expected outcomes are to increase permanency stability, improve behavioral health for children, and improve child and family well-being.
Dr. Fong’s other areas of research are rehoming (unregulated custody transfer of adopted children), international adoptions from China, victims of human trafficking, racial disproportionality in public child welfare, and immigrant and refugee children and families. She has received research and training grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement; Texas Department of Family Protective Services; and Texas Health and Human Services. Her previous research projects have included evaluating post adoption support groups, determining reasons for underutilization of Medicaid services in African American families, developing community engagement strategies in dealing with disproportionality in the public child welfare system, and evaluating the design and implementation of a foster care redesign in a public child welfare system. From 2010-2015 Dr. Fong served as co-director of a Chinese Culture Camp, co-sponsored by the Austin chapter of Families with Children from China and the UT School of Social Work. Her research is to examine the cultural socialization practices of adoptive parents in efforts to promote the ethnic identity formation of transracially adopted Chinese daughters and sons.
She has over 100 publications, including 10 books: Dettlaff, A. & Fong, R. (Eds.). (2016). Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families: Culturally Responsive Practice. Columbia University Press; Fong, R. & McRoy, R. (Eds.). (2016). Transracial and intercountry adoption practices and policies: A resource for educators and clinicians. Columbia University Press; Fong, R., Dettlaff, James, J., & Rodriguez, C. (2015). Eliminating racial disproportionality and disparities: Multi systems culturally competent approaches. Columbia University Press; Dettlaff, A. & Fong, R. (Eds.) (2012). Child welfare practice with immigrant children and families. New York: Taylor & Francis Books; C. Franklin & R. Fong (2011). The church leader’s counseling resource book: A guide to mental health and social problems. New York: Oxford University Press; R. Fong, R. McRoy, & C. Ortiz Hendricks, (Eds.). (2006). Intersecting child welfare, substance abuse, and family violence: Culturally competent approaches. Washington, D.C.: Council on Social Work Education; R. Fong, (Ed.). (2004). Culturally competent practice with immigrant and refugee children and families. New York: Guilford Press; M. Smith & R. Fong (2004). Children of neglect: When no one cares. New York: Brunner-Routledge Press; R. Fong, & S. Furuto (Eds.). (2001). Culturally competent social work practice: Skills, interventions and evaluation. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon; and E. Freeman, C. Franklin, R. Fong, G. Shaffer, & E. Timberlake (Eds.). (1998). Multisystem skills and interventions in school social work practice. Washington, D.C.: NASW Press.
She has received the 2014 Diana DiNitto Peer Faculty Mentor Award of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin; the 2008 Distinguished Recent Contributions in Social Work Education Award of the Council on Social Work Education; the 2007 Texas Exes Teaching Award of the University of Texas at Austin; the 2001 Regent’s Teaching Award of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the 2001 Social Worker of the Year in Education and Training of the National Association of Social Work, Honolulu Chapter.
She has been at the University of Texas at Austin since 2002. Prior to that time she taught at the University of Hawaii (1990-2002), Ohio State University (1989-1990), Nankai University in Tianjin, China (1988-1989), and Bethel College in Minnesota (1981-1988). A first generation Chinese American, Dr. Fong speaks three dialects of Chinese: Cantonese, Mandarin, and Toisanese.
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
Adoptions and child welfare; International adoptions from China; Chinese American children and families; Women and children victims of Human Trafficking; Disproportionality in public child welfare; Culturally competent practice; Translational research and practice.
- Ed.D., Harvard University
- M.S.W., University of California at Berkeley
- B.A., Wellesley College
- Quality Improvement Center for Adoption & Guardianship Support & Preservation: Evaluation Component (2019)
- Foster Care Redesign: Program Evaluation (2013)
- African-American Medicaid Managed Care (2012)
- Human Trafficking Coalition – project evaluation (2007)
- Employability for refugee families in Central Texas (2005)
- Healthy Marriage initiatives for refugee families (2004)
- Child Welfare Education Collaboration (2018)
Social Work BuildingRoom:3.122G
Mailing AddressThe University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358