Julia Kobulsky, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She is a 2016 graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and a recipient of the Administration of Children, Youth, and Families, Children’s Bureau Dissertation Fellowship (2014-2016). Before beginning her doctoral studies, Julia worked as a researcher/evaluator at Beech Brook, a Cleveland non-profit organization providing a continuum of clinical and preventive services for children with significant emotional and behavioral needs and their families.
Julia’s research aims to support the healthy development of youth involved in the child welfare system by advancing knowledge of the relation between child maltreatment and behavioral health. As part of her postdoctoral fellowship, she is helping to manage the evaluation of a national pilot of an online adoption mental health competency training for child welfare and mental health workers. Her independent research examines the relation between child maltreatment and the development of substance use disorders in child welfare-involved adolescents, with a particular focus on pathways connecting this relation and gender differences. Julia’s research also examines the measurement of child maltreatment and the roles of placements and services in predicting behavioral health outcomes among youth in higher levels of care, including residential treatment and treatment foster care.
Julia’s dissertation was one of the first studies to examine early onset substance use, a risk factor for substance use disorder, among child welfare youth. This project sought to build an empirical basis for an expanded substance use prevention and treatment system nationwide, using the child welfare system as a strategic locus for expansion. Utilizing the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW), this study first examined the prevalence of early onset substance use in child welfare youth relative to the general population. Second, it examined the relations between physical and sexual abuse severity and early substance use, the mediating roles of child internalizing problems and posttraumatic stress, and gender differences in these relations.
Julia has a passion for applying research to practical settings. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.
Research Interests: the sequelae of child maltreatment, the measurement of child maltreatment, the child welfare system, substance use/substance use disorder, adolescent behavioral health, residential treatment, treatment foster care, developmental psychopathology.
Teaching Interests: Research Methods and Statistics, Program Evaluation, Child Welfare and Mental Health Policy, Human Behavior in the Social Environment.