LOC NGUYEN teaches in the Doctor of Social Work program in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He has worked with vulnerable populations for over 29 years, including refugees, the elderly, those affected by disasters, and children. He worked in the area of public child welfare for 18 of those years in Los Angeles County as a manager at the Department of Children and Family Services and director of the Inter-University Consortium. He recently retired from public child welfare after five years as the child welfare director in San Mateo County.
Nguyen is a consulting editor with the NASW flagship journal, Social Work, and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, Children and Youth Services Review, and Social Work. His research includes informatics (where he coined the term “child welfare informatics”), return-on-investment of child welfare training programs, the counterintuitive findings that a better economy has led to more child maltreatment, and child welfare data sharing from a public health perspective.
In October 2016, he was selected by the U.S. Department of State to be one of the few non-academics at the time to be a candidate on the Fulbright Specialist Roster for 2016-2021, where he will serve as an expert in the social work (child welfare subspecialty) field.
University of California, Los Angeles: D.P.H., Community Health Sciences 2002
University of California, Los Angeles: M.S.W., Administration, Policy, and Planning 1995
University of California, Los Angeles: M.P.H., Community Health Sciences 1995
University of California, Los Angeles: B.S., Psychobiology 1992
Areas of Expertise (2)
Industry Expertise (3)
Special Merit Award (professional)
Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission
Recognition Award (professional)
American Indian Community Council
Distinguished Scholar Award (professional)
Alumni Association, University of California, Los Angeles
Beverlee A. Myers Memorial Scholarship Award (professional)
American Public Health Association
Articles & Publications (6)
Loc H. Nguyen
At least 30 states have or are considering raising the minimum wage to as much as $15 per hour. Research has shown that this increase positively affects health, but the increase may negatively affect those receiving federal benefits tied to130 percent to 185 percent of the FPL in most states. The social work field should be primed to lead the effort in studying both the positive and negative impacts of this very important social innovation, lest this innovation backfires on our most vulnerable populations.
Loc H. Nguyen
The sharing of data, particularly health data, has been an important tool for the public health community, especially in terms of data sharing across systems (i.e., interoperability). Child maltreatment is a serious public health issue that could be better mitigated if there were interoperability.
There are challenges to addressing child maltreatment interoperability that include the current lack of data sharing among systems, the lack of laws that promote interoperability to address child maltreatment, and the lack of data sharing at the individual level. There are waivers in federal law that allow for interoperability to prevent communicable diseases at the individual level.
Child maltreatment has a greater long-term impact than a number of communicable diseases combined, and interoperability should be leveraged to maximize public health strategies to prevent child maltreatment.
Loc H. Nguyen
In their recent article, Gustavsson and MacEachron (2013) argued that recessions have caused significant financial burden for public child welfare agencies, leading to adverse outcomes for children and families. The most provocative suggestion by Gustavsson and MacEachron to address the financial burden is to revisit the ideas proposed more than 20 years ago by Leroy Pelton to restructure the Child Protective Services (CPS) system by having “the investigative role of child welfare be assumed by law enforcement, freeing child welfare to offer preventive and supportive services to enhance family well-being on a voluntary basis” (Pelton, 1991, p. 88).
This particular suggestion by Gustavsson and MacEachron (2013) may perhaps be too provocative, as it seems to be a broader statement of what Pelton (1991) had focused on in his original article. Pelton believed that a restructuring of the child welfare system was needed based on the research and statistics of the 1980s that suggested an overreliance on out-of-home placements and not enough funding for preventative services. For example, he noted that there were 360,000 children in care in 1989, with an alarming one quarter of the children reentering foster care within one year of exiting foster care. In 1990, there were 63.6 million children in America (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). Thus, the proportion of children in out-of-home care was about 0.57 percent.
The conventional logic supported by research and statistics suggests that there will be more child maltreatment as the economy becomes worse and less child maltreatment as the economy becomes better. However, in some local jurisdictions in California, statistics indicate the opposite. A closer examination of one county, San Mateo, suggests that this may be due to the fact that the County has a very high Self-Sufficiency Standard in which people get jobs with incomes that do not exceed the Standard, but in fact disqualifies them from the safety net of Federal benefits. Further, children born around the time of the last recession have a higher chance of adverse mental health issues and are now entering schools with issues that may reflect child abuse and neglect.
Loc H. Nguyen
The impact of child abuse and neglect has affected many aspects of society beyond just those in child welfare. In 2010, there were 408,425 children in foster care in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011), and at least that many children who were living in the homes of their parents but under the jurisdiction of a Child Protective Services (CPS) agency. Researchers have also conservatively estimated that there are over 52,000 CPS workers in the nation providing services to these children (Barth, Lloyd, Christ, Chapman, & Dickinson, 2008). Based on estimates by Wang & Holton (2007), the annual economic impact of child abuse and neglect amortized for inflation is over $111 billion, of which less than 25 percent is directly related to child welfare expenditures. The other expenditures relate to the impact on the health, judicial, and education systems and to the loss to society in terms of productivity.
Loc H. Nguyen
Child welfare, one of the most important arenas of social work, has benefited from advances in information technology in the past two decades.