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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; long-term effects of child maltreatment; child and youth development and developmental psychopathology, especially for those involved in the child welfare system; promoting child well-being; violence prevention; services for youth aging out of child welfare system; and international child welfare systems and practice.

(848) 932-5389 x25389


As an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, Dr. Simmel’s primary areas of interest in research involve child welfare policies, programs, and services as well as the long-­term developmental and mental health outcomes of child maltreatment. Her interests span both domestic and international child welfare programs and interventions. In addition, she has a particular focus on adolescents who are involved or at risk of involvement with the child welfare system or who are in the process of aging out of foster care, including how their mental health and psychosocial needs are measured, understood, and addressed.

Prior to her position at Rutgers, she was a Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Child Policy Research Fellow for three years at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this position, she implemented and oversaw several research projects related to child welfare, child maltreatment, the promotion of child well-being, and Head Start research. In addition, she developed a strong interest in the intersection of science and policy, particularly in how research can be translated and disseminated toward advancing the development of and advocacy for policies that serve vulnerable populations.

In addition to her faculty position at Rutgers University, Dr. Simmel held an appointment as the Lead Consultant for Research & Evaluation at the New Jersey Department of Children and Families from 2010-2014. In this position, she partnered with DCF to implement research projects geared toward obtaining a deeper understanding of the challenges, strengths, and service needs of the diverse populations of children and youth served by DCF. In 2014, she served as the Acting Co-Director of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) at the Rutgers School of Social Work and is now a Faculty Affiliate of VAWC. Currently she is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Research Unit on Child Welfare and Child Well-being at the School of Social Work and the Founding Director of the new MSW Certificate program on Promoting Child and Adolescent Well-being

Courses Taught: 

  • Conceptual Foundations of Social Work and Social Welfare (Ph.D. seminar)
  • Adolescents at-Risk (MSW traditional program and online course)
  • Social Policy Analysis (Ph.D. seminar)
  • Social Welfare Policies and Programs II (MSW program)
  • Psychopathology (MSW program)
  • 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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