Rowena Fong, Ed.D.

Rowena Fong, Ed.D.

Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families

Dr. Rowena Fong is 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. She has served nationally as past President of the Society for Social Work and Research (2009-2013) and on the Children’s Bureau, Child Welfare Evaluation Workgroup. Dr. Fong is currently serving as a board member of the National Advisory Board of In-Home Services and the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

Dr. Fong’s current research focuses on transracial and intercountry adoptions and  determining the contributing factors to ethnic identity formation on adopted children from the People’s Republic of China. She is the 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 areas of research are adoptions and child welfare, international adoptions in China, victims of human trafficking, disproportionality in public child welfare, Chinese American children and families, and culturally competent practice. 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 also included the availability of child welfare and social services in developing social integration plans for domestic victims of human trafficking and developing community engagement in dealing with disproportionality in the public child welfare system.

She 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.

She has over 100 publications, including eight books: Fong, R., Dettlaff, James, J., & Rodriguez, C. (in press). 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 received 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 second generation Chinese American, Dr. Fong speaks three dialects of Chinese: Cantonese, Mandarin, and Toisanese.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

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

Teaching History

Faculty Research


Social Work Building

Phone:(512) 471-1393
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Mailing Address

The University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358