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Faculty & Staff

Cassandra Simmel

Associate Professor and Director, MSW Certificate in Promoting Child and Adolescent Well-Being

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Child welfare programs, services, and policies; developmental and mental health outcomes of childhood trauma; intersection of mental health and child welfare systems; child well-being; violence prevention; and services for youth transitioning into adulthood following child welfare involvement

(848) 932-5389 x25389

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Cassandra Simmel is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. She is also the Director of the MSW Certificate on Promoting Child and Adolescent Well-being (ChAP)

Professor Simmel’s scholarship focuses on child welfare policies, programs, and services as well as the developmental outcomes associated with childhood trauma. She has a particular emphasis on adolescents who are involved with or at risk of involvement with the child welfare system. In her research, she seeks to understand the intersection between mental health and child welfare systems. Her research has been funded by Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Jersey, Prevent Child Abuse of New Jersey, Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Silberman Foundation.

Her published work has appeared in journals such as Child Abuse and Neglect, Children and Youth Services Review, Child Development, Journal of Public Child Welfare, and Journal of Policy Practice.

With respect to the broader social work profession, Dr. Simmel currently serves on the technical advisory board for two research projects entitled National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being III (NSCAW), funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement at Risk of Homelessness: Phase III (YARH-3), funded by the Children’s Bureau. She is a member of the Social Policy Committee for the Society for Social Work and Research and is a former member of the Violence Prevention Alliance at the World Health Organization.

Dr. Simmel recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Child Welfare entitled “Twenty Years after the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (‘Chafee’): What We Know Now About Meeting the Needs of Teens and Young Adults.”  She is on the editorial board for Developmental Child Welfare, Journal of Public Child Welfare, and Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. Prior to her position at Rutgers, she was a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Child Policy Research Fellow at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Simmel earned her MSW and PhD in social welfare and her BA in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Courses Taught: 

  • Advanced Contemporary Policy: Children and Youth
  • Adolescents: Risk & Resilience
  • Conceptual Foundations of Social Work and Social Welfare (Ph.D. seminar)
  • Growing Up on The Wire: Exploring Adolescents’ Lives in Urban Settings (Byrne First Year Seminar)

Selected Recent Publications: 

Sapiro, B., Johnson, L., Postmus, J. L., & Simmel, C. (2016). Supporting youth involved in domestic minor sex trafficking: divergent perspectives on youth agency. Child Abuse & Neglect, 58, 99-110.

Simmel, C., Merritt, D., Kim, H. M. S., & Kim, S. (2016). An exploratory study of neglect and emotional abuse in adolescents: Classifications of caregiver risk factors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-15.

Simmel, C., Merritt, D., Kim, S., & Kim, H. M. S. (2016). Developmental disabilities in children involved with child welfare: correlates of referrals for service provision. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 10(2), 197-214.

Shpiegel, S. & Simmel, C. (2016). Functional outcomes among sexual minority youth emancipating from the child welfare system. Children and Youth Services Review, 61(1), pp. 101-108.

Simmel, C., Postmus, J. L., & Lee, I. (2016). Revictimized adult women: Perceptions of mental health functioning and associated services. Journal of Family Violence, 1-10.

Morton, C., Simmel, C., & Peterson, A. (2014). Neighborhood alcohol outlet density and rates of child abuse and neglect: Moderating effects of access to substance abuse services. Child Abuse and Neglect, 38, 952-961.

Simmel, C., Lee, I., Kim, S., & Miles, J. (2014). Multiple assessors of child welfare youths' mental‐health functioning: comparing perceptions of adolescents, caregivers and teachers. Child & Family Social Work, 19(3), 343-354.

Shpiegel, S., Simmel, C., & Huang, C. C, (2013). Emotional maltreatment reports in children: The influence of state statutes and co-occurring maltreatment. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 22:6, 626-643.

Simmel, C. & Shpiegel, S. (2013). Describing the context and nature of emotional maltreatment reports in children. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(4), 626-633.

Simmel, C. (2013). Sexual revictimization. In J. Postmus (Ed.). Sexual Violence and Abuse: An  Encyclopedia of Prevention, Impacts, and Recovery. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

Simmel, C. (2013). Child Maltreatment (Neglect & Physical abuse). In J. Postmus (Ed.). Sexual Violence and Abuse: An Encyclopedia of Prevention, Impacts, and Recovery.Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

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