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Faculty & Staff

Laura Curran

Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Ph.D., California, Berkeley

Dr. Curran's research interests include family and child policy practice, welfare policy, social welfare history/theory, gender and sexuality.

(848) 932-4423 x24423

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Dr. Laura Curran is an associate professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Dr. Curran served as Director of the MSW program since 2014. In that role, she oversaw curriculum and master’s level program development. Prior to that appointment, she was the inaugural director of our Online MSW Program.  In that capacity, she led the design and implementation of our very successful online endeavors. 

Dr. Curran's interests include family and child policy, gender issues, and social welfare history. Her research primarily examines the history of the profession and, more specifically, the history of social work interventions with low-income families and children. Her research explores three key areas: 1) how expert understandings of social problems and family life gain prominence within the context of social work's professional maturation, 2) how social work discourses and direct interventions actively shape family and gender relations, and 3) how clients subjectively experience social problems and social work practices. Dr. Curran's has written about social work's response to the post World War II attack on the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program and mid-twentieth century foster care provision. Her articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals including Social Service Review, The Journal of Women's History, The Journal of Social History, and Social Work. Dr. Curran is currently conducting a study of the evolution of U.S. foster care from the 1920s thorough the 1960s. She teaches Social Welfare Policy and Services I, Social Welfare Policy and Services II, and Women's Issues.

Courses Taught: 

  • Social Welfare Policy and Services I (MSW and BASW)
  • Social Welfare POlicy and Services II (BASW)
  • Women's Issues

Selected Recent Publications: 

Abrams, L. & Curran, L. (2009). "And you're telling me not to stress?" A grounded theory study of postpartum depression symptoms among low-income mothers. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33(3), 351-362.

Abrams, L., Doring, K. & Curran, L. (2009). Barriers to service use for postpartum depression symptoms among low-income ethnic minority mothers in the U.S. Qualitative Health Research, 19(4), 535-551.

Curran, L. (2008). Longing to "belong:" Foster children in mid-century Philadelphia (1946-1963). Journal of Social History, 42(2), 425-445.

Curran, L. & Pfeiffer, S. (2008). "You can't tie and untie love that fast:" Family preservation and reunification in midcentury Philadelphia. Social Service Review, 82(1), 62-91.

Abrams, L. & Curran, L. (2007). Not just a middle-affliction: Crafting a social work research agenda on postpartum depression. Health & Social Work, 32(4), 289-296.

Curran, L. (2006). Feminine women, hard workers: Foster motherhood in mid-century America (1946-1963). Journal of Family History, 31(4), 386-412.

Curran, L. (2005). Social work's revised maternalism: Mothers, workers, and welfare in early cold war America, 1946-1963. Journal of Women's History, 17(1), 112-136.

Abrams, L. & Curran, L. (2004). Between women: Gender and social work in historical perspective. Social Service Review, 78(3), 429-447.

Curran, L. (2003). The culture of race, class, and poverty: The emergence of a cultural discourse in early cold war social work (1946-1963). Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 30(3),15 38.

Lee, R. & Curran, L. (2003). Serving the "hard-to-serve": The use of clinical knowledge in welfare reform.Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 30(3), 59-78.

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