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College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Yanfeng Xu, Ph.D., MSW

Title: Assistant Professor
College of Social Work
Phone: 803-777-2215
Office: Hamilton 117
Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Yanfeng, Xu

Research Expertise

  • Child welfare services and policies

  • Foster care and kinship care

  • Child abuse and neglect

  • Child mental/behavioral health


Assistant Professor Yanfeng Xu joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 2019 after earning her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Xu is also an affiliate faculty associate for the Research Consortium on Children and Families and Walker Institute of International and Area Studies.

Xu’s research centers on the well-being of children and their caregivers in kinship care and non-kinship foster care. She investigated multiple challenges in kinship care, particularly economic hardship and its association with kinship children’s behavioral health outcomes. Currently, Xu is principal investigator for a project that investigates the relationships between material hardship, parenting practice, and the well-being of children and caregivers in grandparent-headed kinship families. She is also working with a local non-government organization serving kinship families to evaluate their Kinship Navigator Program.

Xu also analyzes South Carolina linked administrative data to examine foster children’s behavioral health services utilization and associations with their well-being and permanency outcomes. She is interested in international child protection, particularly child welfare policies and services in China. Xu is currently working on child welfare case assessments in China and the decision-making process.

Xu’s articles have been published in scholarly journals such as Child Maltreatment, Child Abuse and Neglect, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Family Violence, the British Journal of Social Work, Families in Society, and the International Journal of Social Welfare.

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