Jacquelyn McCroskey

Research Interest 
Children & Families
Contact Information
Location
University Park
Phone213.740.2004
E-mail
Professor
John Milner Professor of Child Welfare
Education 
DSW, University of California, Los Angeles, 1980
MSW, San Diego State University, 1974
BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1969

JACQUELYN MCCROSKEY, who holds the John Milner Professorship in Child Welfare, was named the 2003 California Social Worker of the Year by the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. For more than two decades, she has helped to create and evaluate systems change initiatives to improve outcomes for families and children in Los Angeles County.

Through her work with county, city and school district policy makers and philanthropists, she has investigated inter-agency collaboration and community partnerships across a broad range of organizations, service areas and settings. She uses data and scholarship, drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods, to inform policy and guide improvements to government systems providing child welfare, juvenile justice, and early care and education services. Her research focuses on financing and organization of services for children and families, utilization of results and performance measurement, and the efficiency and effectiveness of services.

Currently, McCroskey co-leads the multi-university child welfare evaluation team funded by Casey Family Programs to support the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services in understanding the impact of a variety of community-based service initiatives, including the DCFS Family Preservation Program and Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project. She is a core team member responsible for creating the Los Angeles Children’s Data Network, a collaborative funded by First 5 LA to increase access to and utilization of timely accurate data on families with young children. She also leads a cross-disciplinary research roundtable of researchers from USC, UCLA and Cal State LA in the Los Angeles County Probation Data Project funded by the Keck Foundation under the auspices of the Advancement Project.

Through earlier efforts she helped to create the Family Assessment Form, working with the Children’s Bureau of Southern California to develop, test and disseminate a practice-based assessment instrument now used in child and family service settings across the country and abroad. Topics of recent publications include improving child and family outcomes through the LA Point of Engagement reform approach; using child and family indicators to influence communities and policy; evidence for family-centered community-based supports, services and capacity building; and the role of child welfare service systems in preventing child maltreatment.

McCroskey has held numerous appointments on commissions and committees that advise policy makers, including the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the mayor of the city of Los Angeles, and the school board and superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. She developed the Los Angeles County children’s budget and consulted with the county’s chief administrative office on its subsequent publication (1986 through 2006-07), and provided oversight on a series of Children’s Scorecards issued by the Children’s Planning Council (1994-2008). She helped to create and served on the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council (1992 through 2010), serving as its ex-officio commissioner on the First 5 LA Commission (1999 through 2009).

McCroskey was appointed to the Los Angeles County Policy Roundtable for Child Care by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in 2000, served as its first chair and has been elected chair again for 2011-12 and 2012-13. Among other responsibilities, the roundtable developed Los Angeles' Child Care Policy Framework adopted by the Board of Supervisors to guide policy and practice around early childhood care and education services (originated in 2009 and updated in 2011). She continues to lead other countywide efforts around data-driven planning, distribution of resources, and analysis of impact on the lives of children and families. In addition, McCroskey serves on the board of Special Service for Groups, consults with various public and private child and family serving agencies, and serves on a number of local and national advisory committees.

When Dr. Jacquelyn McCroskey first joined USC, child services in Los Angeles were scattered and unconnected. But where others saw differences, McCroskey perceived similarities, hidden linkages that would enable these myriad organizations to work together. Under her guidance, the parts have begun to coalesce into a whole—a multifaceted, integrated network with McCroskey at its center.

A University of California, Berkeley, graduate with a degree in drama, McCroskey didn’t consider social work until a stint at the Los Angeles County Probation Department, where she became interested in working with children, particularly girls who had been incarcerated for minor offenses. She felt that the uncoordinated and ineffectual nature of the system had failed them, and began advocating on their behalf. McCroskey quickly noticed several obstacles to reform, including several service systems that were working separately toward the same goal. “No one entity, no matter how big or how grand, can do it by themselves,” she says. “Nobody has the resources, the skill or the personnel.”

By connecting these organizations, McCroskey made strides toward interagency collaboration and data sharing, and her efforts resulted in the creation of the Children’s Planning Council, which examines public money spent on child services. McCroskey’s other notable efforts include initiating the framework for data-driven planning reports, such as the Los Angeles County Children’s Scorecard and the county children’s budget, as well as formulating a child care policy framework for early childhood education. By engaging city officials, key managers and department heads in serious discussions about child welfare, she has helped Los Angeles remain ahead of the curve by anticipating state and federal initiatives requiring cities to formulate outcomes and demonstrate improvement.

McCroskey is also interested in utilizing recent neuroscience findings in her work at the USC School of Social Work. Along with Dr. Penelope Trickett, she is spearheading a research core on child development and children’s services, which she hopes will merge a new understanding of early brain development with research in childhood intervention programs. Scholars have the opportunity to work directly with McCroskey on this cutting-edge work, and she is also an enthusiastic mentor of both MSW and doctoral students. In all areas of her research—from juvenile justice to early childhood education to child protective services—McCroskey says there are opportunities to get involved.
 

Awards and Distinction
Social Workers Change Futures Award, SEIU Local 721 (Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services) (2011)
George D. Nickel Award for Outstanding Professional Services (2005)
John Milner Professor of Child Welfare, Endowed Professorship (2005)
California Social Worker of the Year, California Chapter, National Association of Social Workers (2003)
Hutto Patterson Foundation Distinguished Faculty Award, USC School of Social Work (2003)
Recognition for Service, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (2003)
Region I Social Worker of the Year, California Region I Chapter, National Association of Social Workers (2003)
Improving Children's Lives Award, Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council (2001)
John Milner Associate Professor of Child Welfare, Endowed Professorship (2001)
Joint Appointment, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development (2000-2001)
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (1997)
Sixth Annual Louise Ranier Makofsky Lecture on Child Welfare, University of Maryland at Baltimore (1996)
Los Amigos de la Humanidad, Distinguished Faculty Award, USC School of Social Work (1989)
Society for Research in Child Development, Invitational Summer Training Institute, Austin Texas (1985)
Student of the Year, Alumni Association Award for Academic Distinction, UCLA School of Social Welfare (1980)
Child Welfare Administration Traineeships, Social and Rehabilitation Services, U. S. Department of Health Education and Welfare (1977-1979)
More awards
Selected Publications

Mc Croskey, J., Pecora, P.J., Franke, T., Christie, C.A. & Lorthridge, J. (in press). Strengthening families and communities to prevent child abuse and neglect: Lessons from the Los Angeles Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project. Child Welfare.

Lorthridge, J., Mc Croskey, J., Pecora, P.J., Chambers, R. & Fatemi, M. (2012). Strategies for improving child welfare services for families of color: First findings of a community-based initiative in Los Angeles. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 281-288.

Mc Croskey, J., Yoo, J., Lorthridge, J., Chambers, R., Carter-Williams, S. & Cienfuegos-Mercado, Y. (2010). Improving Child Welfare Practice in Los Angeles County: Implementing Point of Engagement and Other Title IV-E Waiver Strategies. A Technical Report Describing Implementation of Practice Changes in Department of Children and Family Services Regional Offices.

Mc Croskey, J. & Liu, J. (2010). Preventing child maltreatment in Taiwan and Los Angeles – A Comparative Analysis. 2010 Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development. Hong Kong.

Mc Croskey, J., Christie, C.A., Lorthridge, J., Chambers, R., Pecora, P.J., Azzam, T., Fleischer, D., Rosenthal, E., Weisbart, A., Custodio, C., Smith, S., Franke, T., Nunn, P., Hahn, R., Carter, S. & Yoo, J. (2009). Building Communities and Connecting the Dots: Preliminary Evaluation Findings from the Los Angeles County Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project. Casey Family Programs & LA County Department of Children and Family Services.

Mc Croskey, J., Pecora, P., Lorthridge, J., Chambers, R., Franke, T., Christie, C., Azzam, T., Fleischer, D. & Williams, S.C. (2009). Midcourse lessons learned from the Los Angeles County Prevention Initiative Demonstration Program: Early successes, partnerships and the challenges that lie ahead. Casey Family Programs (Seattle, WA) & LA County Department of Children and Family Services. Seattle, WA.

Mc Croskey, J., Christie, T., Azzam, T., Chambers, R. & Lorthridge, J. (2009). Findings from the first year evaluation of LA County’s Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project. Fourteenth Annual Partnership Conference of A New Beginning for Partnerships for Children & Families In Los Angeles County.

Mc Croskey, J., Lorthridge, J. & Chambers, R. (2009). Multiple stakeholder evaluation: An essential component for transforming child welfare. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. San Antonio, TX.

Mc Croskey, J., Christie, T., Azzam, T., Icenhower, K., Marts, E. & Lorthridge, J. (2009). A new approach to preventing child abuse and neglect in Los Angles County. 23rd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment. Long Beach, CA.

Mc Croskey, J., Lorthridge, J., Azzam, T., Marts, E. & Icenhower, K. (2009). A new approach to preventing child abuse and neglect. 23rd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment. San Diego, CA. .

Marts, E.J., Lee, E.O., McRoy, R. & Mc Croskey, J. (2008). Point of Engagement: Reducing disproportionality and improving child and family outcomes. Child welfare (Special issue on disproportionality), 87(2), 335-358.

Mc Croskey, J., Nadybal, B., Blacher, L. & Dandillaya, V. (2008). Los Angeles County services for transition age youth: Programs, data and recommendations. Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office.

Mc Croskey, J. (2008). Safe, healthy and ready to learn: Findings on current practices in parent engagement and wraparound support services. LAUSD.

Mc Croskey, J., Furman, W., Chambers, R., Lorthridge, J., Marts, E. & Garriosn, M. (2008). Designing evaluation for practice improvement in Point of Engagement. American Humane Conference on Differential Response. Long Beach, CA.

Mc Croskey, J., Reina, E. & Icenhower, K. (2008). Finding common ground in community based child welfare. Family-Centered Practice: A Conference and 30th Anniversary Celebration. National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice. Iowa City, Iowa.

Mc Croskey, J. (2008). Lessons learned from 20 years of family centered research. Family-Centered Practice: A Conference and 30th Anniversary Celebration. National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice. Iowa City, Iowa.

Mc Croskey, J. (2007). Using child and family indicators to influence communities and policy in Los Angeles County. Social indicators research, 83, 125-148.

Mc Croskey, J. & Nadybal, B. (2007). Investing in the future of LA’s most at-risk children: Data on needs and resources for preschool children involved with child welfare and probation. Education Coordinating Council. Los Angeles, CA.

Mc Croskey, J. (2007). Youth in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system: Follow up recommendations. Children’s Planning Council. Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Los Angeles, CA.

Mc Croskey, J., Furman, W., Marts, E., Reina, E., Garrison, M., Chambers, R. & Lorthridge, J. (2007). Designing evaluation for practice improvement in Point of Engagement. American Humane’s Second Annual Conference on Differential Response in Child Welfare. Long Beach, CA .

Mc Croskey, J. (2006). The future of social work in child welfare. Advances in social work, 6(1), 156-166.

Mc Croskey, J. (2005). Using child and family indicators to influence communities and policy-making in Los Angeles County. Social indicators research journal (Special volume on children’s well being).

Mc Croskey, J. (2006). Youth in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system: Current conditions and possible directions for change. Children’s Planning Council. Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Los Angeles, CA.

Mc Croskey, J. (2005). Well-being and concerns of emancipated youth panel presentation. Children 2005, Crossing the Cultural Divide. Child Welfare League of America National Conference. Washington DC.

Mc Croskey, J. (2006). Family-centered community-based supports, services and capacity-building: Effectiveness and promising approaches. In C. McAuley, P. J. Pecora & W. Rose (Eds.) Enhancing the well being of children and families through effective interventions: International evidence for practice. (pp. 313-320). London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Mc Croskey, J. (2004). Social work with children and families. In A. L. Sallee (Eds.) Social work and social welfare: An introduction. Peosta, IA: Eddie Bowers Publishing Company, Inc.

Mc Croskey, J., Picus, L.O., Yoo, J., Marsenich, L. & Robillard, E. (2004). Show me the money: Estimating public expenditures to improve outcomes for children, families and communities. Children and schools, 26(3), 165-73.

Mc Croskey, J. (2004). What is family preservation and why does it matter?.Family preservation journal, 5(2), 1-23.

Mc Croskey, J. (2003). Challenges and opportunities for higher education. In M. M. Brabeck & M. E. Walsh (Eds.) Meeting at the hyphen: Schools-universities-communities-professions in collaboration for student achievement and well being. (pp. 117-139). National Society for the Study of Education, Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.

Mc Croskey, J. (2003). Defining and meeting families’ needs through community collaboration. Building Communities for 21st Century Child Welfare, Child Welfare League of America. Albany NY.

Mc Croskey, J. (2003). Walking the collaboration talk: Ten lessons learned from the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council. Children’s Planning Council. Los Angeles, CA.

Mc Croskey, J. (2003). Child welfare services: Controversy and possibilities. In In F. Jacobs, D. Wertlieb & R. Lerner (Eds.) Handbook of applied developmental science, Volume 2, Enhancing the life chances of youth and families: Contributions of programs, policies and service systems. (pp. 371-393). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mc Croskey, J., Picus, L.O., Robillard, E., Yoo, J. & Marsenich, L. (2002). Using student level data to measure school finance adequacy: An exploratory analysis. In C. Roellke & J. K. Rice (Eds.) Fiscal policy in urban education, Volume I: Research in education fiscal policy and practice. (pp. 181-201). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Mc Croskey, J., Picus, L.O., Robillard, E., Yoo, J. & Marsenich, L. (2002). Using student level data to measure school finance adequacy: An exploratory analysis. In C. Roellke & J. K. Rice (Eds.) Fiscal policy in urban education, Volume I: Research in education fiscal policy and practice. (pp. 181-201). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Mc Croskey, J. & Yoo, J.Q. (2002). Service integration and multi-agency service initiatives: Research and implications for Los Angeles County. A report for the Los Angeles County Service Integration Action Plan for Children and Families. Los Angeles: Service Integration Branch, Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Office.

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