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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. She previously received her Master of Social Work from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She is also an affiliate faculty associate for the University of South Carolina Walker Institute of International and Area Studies and the Research Consortium on Children and Families.

During her doctoral studies, Xu was principal investigator on a University of Maryland Graduate School-funded award in 2019 on the challenges in kinship care and associations with children’s behavioral health outcomes. She was also co-investigator on a Shanghai Hospital Management Association-funded award on a mixed methods study of the role conflicts and burnout among medical social workers in Shanghai.

As a graduate research assistant at the University of Maryland, she worked on several state and federal funded projects evaluating an evidence-based model of family-centered practice in Maryland, Maryland’s child welfare quality assurance system, and the kinship navigator program in Maryland. She also led projects, including a comparison of child welfare policy in the United States and China, and the experience of social work faculty engaged in qualitative methods in China. In addition to kinship care and behavioral health, her other research interests include child welfare services and policies, foster care, child abuse and neglect, parenting and grandparenting, and child protection in China.   

Xu’s recent publications have included articles on predicting a change in placement for children and youth in out-of-home care, children’s mental health and the predictors in kinship and non-kinship foster care, family involvement meetings in child welfare, and a comparison of child welfare policy between the United States and China. Her articles have been published in scholarly journals such as, Child Abuse and Neglect, Children and Youth Services Review, the British Journal of Social Work, and the International Journal of Social Welfare.

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