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Margo Candelaria

Margo Candelaria

Research Associate Professor
Research Director of Parent, Infant, Early Childhood Team


Margo Candelaria, Ph.D. is the Co-director of the Parent Infant Early Childhood (PIEC) team at the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social overseeing all research and evaluation efforts for the team. This includes several grants and contracts related to infant and early childhood mental health and parenting in a variety of setting.  Dr. Candelaria oversees all research and evaluation for the Maryland State Department of Education funded Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) and Pyramid Model efforts in Maryland.  Other current projects include the HRSA funded TREEHOUSE project in collaboration with MDAAP promoting early relational health within pediatrics, the NCTSN funded FASTT Project in collaboration with the Laurie Center working to increase access to trauma informed early childhood EBPs for families, the OJJDP funded B'more Reconnects project in collaboration with the Baltimore City Mayor's office working with currently and recently incarcerated parents, and The SAMHSA funded B'more SUCCEEDS project working with Catholic Charities to increase access to substance use services for youth while also increasing access to housing and parenting supports. She was also the evaluation PI for the previously funded Maryland Launch project and two early childhood mental health SAMHSA System of Care projects in Maryland. In her role Dr. Candelaria focuses on program evaluation and implementation science aimed to improve programs for young children by using data and engaging in CQI processes. She has a long history of conducting research with young children and families at risk including premature infants, drug exposed infants, families in poverty, attachment and parenting concerns, and those struggling with early childhood mental health challenges. Dr. Candelaria is also a licensed developmental psychologist with extensive experience with parenting, early childhood mental health, evidence-based interventions, and medically complex children. 

Dr. Candelaria also teaches SSW 735 – Parent, Infant, and Early Childhood Mental Health, a course she developed in collaboration with other at UMB SSW, Rutgers, and Boston University, through the SAMHSA funded Behavioral Health Curriculum Development Initiative. 

Expertise & Interests

  • Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
  • Evidenced based programs for parents and young children
  • Parenting and Parenting Programs
  • Dyadic Assessment
  • Assessment and diagnosis in young children
  • National Pyramid Model
  • Early Childhood Systems Development
  • Program Evaluation

Ph.D. 2005 University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Applied Developmental Psychology 

MA 2002 University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Applied Developmental Psychology 

BA 1995 The Pennsylvania State University, Developmental \ Child Clinical Emphasis 

Maryland Licensed Psychologist, #04671, issued November 23, 2009 

Recent Publications


Candelaria, M., Tellerman, K., Wilms-Floet, A., & Whitty, H. (2022). The TREEHOUSE Project: promoting early childhood development and parent-child interaction via telehealth in pediatrics. ZERO TO THREE Journal, Invited Submission. 

Candelaria, M., Afkinich, J., Sweeney, K., Latta, L., Kane, A. (2022). Workforce Development Needs to Address Early Childhood Mental Health within the Childcare and Early School Years Setting.  Perspectives in Early Childhood Psychology and Education – Special Issue. 

Candelaria, M., Latta, L., Afkinich, J., Sweeney Wasserman, K., Kane, A., Shivers, E., & Gal-Szabo, D. (2021). Maryland’s infant and early childhood mental health consultation equity efforts, Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, DOI: 10.1080/15313204.2021.2001403 

Afkinich, J., Torres, J., Latta, L., Sweeney Wasserman, K., Endy, K., & Candelaria, M. (2021). “Needed now more than ever”: Infant and early childhood mental health consultation in an unprecedented time. ZERO TO THREE Journal, 41(4), 26–33 

Black, M., Hager, E., Wang, Y., Hurley, K., Latta, L., Candelaria, M., Caulfield, L. (2020). Toddler Obesity Prevention: A Two-Generation Randomized Attention-Controlled Trial. Maternal Child Nutrition. E13075. 

Selected Reports 

Candelaria, M., Whitty, H., Celona, E., Cosgrove, K., Allison, A., Sweeney, K., Rosman, E. (2023). Maryland State Department of Education Preschool Development Grant Sharing the FAN Final three year project report. Baltimore, MD: The Institute for Innovation and Implementation. 

Latta, L., Sweeney, K., Isiminger, A., Adams, V. & Candelaria, M. (2023). IECMHC FY22 Impact Report 

Sweeney, K., Tyson, N., Afkinich, J., Candelaria, M., Vannatta, R., Ashley, F., Corbin, D., Maness, S., & Langer, D. (2022). MD PM Annual Report 2021