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Leah Hanzlicek - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Leah Hanzlicek Leah Hanzlicek

Adjunct Assistant Professor | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Leah Hanzlicek is an adjunct assistant professor. For several years, she served as a child welfare caseworker in Oregon.


LEAH HANZLICEK is an adjunct assistant professor. For several years, she served as a child welfare caseworker in Oregon.

She has participated in a variety of research projects, including a longitudinal investigation of child welfare worker recruitment and retention; outcomes research for young adults with former juvenile justice involvement; and evaluation of a statewide early childhood program. Her research interests include the conceptualization of mental health for adolescents in the child welfare system, transitions to adulthood for young people emancipating out of the child welfare system and qualitative research methods.

She received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is currently a PhD candidate in social welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles, slated for graduation in 2016.

Education (3)

UCLA: Ph.D., Social Welfare 2016

Activities and Societies: Working Papers Colloquium Student Coordinator 2009-2011, Doctoral Student Representative (Doctoral Committee) 2009-2010

University of Michigan: M.S.W., Community Organization; Children & Youth in Families & Society; Minor in Social Policy & Evaluation 2008

Activities and Societies: "Footsteps to the Future: Michigan Teen Conference" Planning Committee Member 2006-2008

University of California, Berkeley: B.A., Sociology 2002

Areas of Expertise (3)


Program Evaluation

Social Services

Industry Expertise (2)



Accomplishments (2)

Targow Endowed Fellowship (professional)

Fall 2010 & Winter 2011

Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (professional)

2009 & 2011


Articles & Publications (1)

“A Comfort I Couldn’t Find in Nobody Else”: Relationships Between Emancipated Former Foster Youth and Their Biological Parents UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Hanzlicek, Leah Rose


When foster youth emancipate from the child welfare system they no longer have professionals overseeing decisions about contact with their biological parents. While there is a general awareness in the field of child welfare that former foster youth often do choose to reconnect with their biological parents as adults, there has been scant research investigating former foster youths’ lived experiences of contact with them. Little is known about the potential functions of these relationships as sources of support, conflict, healing, or resilience. Without an understanding of how decisions about contact are made, and how such contact impacts their lives, it is not possible to assess how prepared, or unprepared, emancipated youth are when they leave the child welfare system to negotiate these relationships in whatever manner is most beneficial to them...

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