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Faculty & Staff

Abigail Williams-Butler

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Michigan, MS, Developmental Psychology, and MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Williams-Butler’s research interests include understanding the developmental trajectories of children and adolescents in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She is particularly interested in using resilience science to identify mechanisms to promote positive developmental outcomes, examining the intersectional nature of child and adolescent development, and identifying innovative approaches towards trauma-informed care for children and youth involved in child-serving systems.

Bio: 

Dr. Williams-Butler received her PhD from the University of Michigan in the Joint Social Work and Developmental Psychology program. Her research agenda is informed by her practice experience as a residential counselor for adolescents with substance misuse and mental health disorders. After completing her MSW internship at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington DC, Dr. Williams-Butler became passionate about conducting research with both interventions and policy change in mind. Her research agenda focuses on understanding the developmental trajectory of marginalized children, adolescents, and families across time. She answers research questions focused on three broad areas 1) using intersectionality as a guiding framework for understanding development across time, 2) using strengths-based science to identify mechanisms to promote positive developmental outcomes for children, adolescents, and families, and 3) identifying innovative approaches towards trauma-informed care for youth involved in child-serving systems, particularly the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Her research has been funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Courses Taught: 

Social Welfare Policy and Services I
HBSE Developmental Perspectives on Infant and Child Well-Being 
Adolescence: Risk and Resilience

Selected Recent Publications: 

Williams-Butler, A., Liu, F., Howell, T., Menon, S. E., & Quinn, C. R. (2022). Racialized gender differences in mental health service use, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and recidivism among justice-involved African American youth. Race & Social Problems. DOI: 10.1007/s12552-022-09360-9. 

Williams-Butler, A., Golden, K., Mendez, A., & Stevens, B. (2020). Intersectionality and child welfare policy: Implications for Black women, children and families. Child Welfare, 98(4), 75-95. 

Williams-Butler, A., Duron, J., Costantino, A.*, & Schmidt, A. (2020). Relational permanence and delinquency among African American adolescents in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review. Doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105098

Williams-Butler, A., Gale, A., & Dorsey, M. (2019). Gender differences among Black adolescents in foster care: The relationship between relational permanence and psychological well-being. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 14(4), 1-21. 

Williams-Butler, A. (2018). Reducing delinquency among African American youth in foster care: Does gender make a difference in crossover prevention? Children and Youth Services Review, 94, 563-571. 

Williams-Butler, A., Ryan, J. P, McLoyd, V. C., Schulenberg, J. E., & Davis-Kean, P. E. (2018). Psychological well-being among African American adolescents in foster care: The role of relational permanence. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(10), 3277-3287. 

Williams, A. B., Ryan, J. P., Davis-Kean, P. E., McLoyd, V. C., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2017). The discontinuity of offending in African-American youth in the juvenile justice system. Youth & Society, 49, 610-633. 

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