Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Darcey Merritt’s empirical scholarship is meaningfully informed by her vast experience as a practitioner in private and public child welfare systems. Her research centers on child maltreatment prevention, specifically neglect, and parenting in socio-economic context, considering the impact of working memory on parental decision-making. She is dedicated to elevating the voices of systems-impacted parents and children in the discussion of prevention methods and service delivery in the context of systemic racism and racialized poverty.
Her research has been published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Race and Social Problems, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Child Welfare, Journal of Public Child Welfare, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, and Children and Youth Services Review, which she co-edits. Her articles primarily focus on child welfare service–impacted families and their perceived experiences while receiving services, contextual (e.g., neighborhood and psychosocial) indicators of well-being outcomes, the structural and systemic impact of child welfare oversight on parenting, children’s preferences and expectations for permanency while living in out-of-home placements, ways in which systemic racism manifests within child welfare system service delivery, and child developmental and well-being outcomes in the context of socio-behavioral, relational, and neighborhood-level factors.
Merritt received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College with concentrations in sociology and psychology, and earned her MSW and PhD in social welfare from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare.