Kim Leffer headshotKim Williams, MSW

Kim Williams CV

Previous Education:

MSW, University of Maryland, Baltimore

BS, Psychology and Sociology & Anthropology

Research Interests:

Foster parent experiences, effectiveness of child welfare interventions and program models, permanency and re-entry outcomes for children in child welfare

Kim Williams completed her advanced year field internship for her MSW degree at Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Therapeutic Foster Program and was hired as a Clinical Social Worker for the program upon graduation where she worked until joining the PhD program in 2018. In this position, she thoroughly enjoyed working with and learning from the TFC foster parents and became very interested in what agencies can do to set their foster parents up for success. She believes that the experiences of TFC parents is critical to the success of the child welfare system, including how those TFC parents engage with the system and impact the experiences of children and youth who are cared for by them.  

Kim’s dissertation seeks to provide an in-depth examination of the therapeutic foster parent experience by exploring key concepts, such as, satisfaction, role perception, role ambiguity and conflict, intention to continue fostering, and awareness of and use of supportive services offered by the licensing agency. Kim plans to partner with TFC agencies that are connected to the Family Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) network to recruit a sample of TFC foster parents. The study will use a mixed-methods approach by collecting data via an online survey and through qualitative interviews. 

In addition to working toward her PhD, Kim is currently a Senior Research Analyst at the University of Maryland’s Institute for Innovation and Implementation where she has worked since 2020. Kim works on the Child Welfare Accountability Act (CWAA) project under co-principal investigators, Dr. Haksoon Ahn and Dr. Terry Shaw. In this role, she works closely with partners at the Social Services Administration and Department of Humans Services to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the child welfare system in Maryland. This project includes participation in the state’s ongoing Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process that evaluates, qualitatively, practice in each of the 24 local jurisdictions throughout the state of Maryland on a cyclical basis. Additionally, Kim aides in the recruitment and facilitation of focus groups with key stakeholders across the child welfare system to assist in the state’s Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process. Furthermore, Kim aides in the collection and analysis of data from participants of Family Team Decision Meetings (FTDM) across the state as part of an evaluation of the state’s Integrated Practice Model (IPM).  


Selected Publications: 

Ahn, H., Xu, Y., Williams, K. A., Bourn, K. P., Williams, S., Conway, D. (2022). Family team decision  

meetings and child welfare service disparities: The influence of race and income. Children and Youth Services Review, 143, 106705, 


Leffler, K. A.* & Ahn, H. (2020). Foster parent perspectives and experiences with public child welfare.  

Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1-16. 


Lewis, E. M., Murugan, V., Feely, M., Williams, K. A., Sermon, M. C., & Farooq, S. (2022). Quality  

Parenting Initiative: Engaging Diverse Stakeholders as Champions for Child Welfare Systems Reform. Journal of the Society for Social Work & Research, 


Lewis, E., Murugan, V., Williams, K. A., Barth, R. P., & Lee, B. (2022). Relationships Matter: Exploring the  

Implementation of the Quality Parenting Initiative and the Foster Parent Experience. Child and Family Social Work, 27(4), 593-603, 


Williams, K. A., Lewis, E. M., & Feely, M. (2023). Stay just a little bit longer: A scoping review of foster  

parent engagement in the US. Children and Youth Services Review, 106814.