Sarah Catherine Williams

Senior Research Scientist I

Sarah Catherine Williams headshot

Research Focus

Education & certification

M.S.W., University of Georgia

Sarah Catherine Williams

Senior Research Scientist I, Bethesda, MD

Sarah Catherine Williams works in the Child Welfare research area. She has experience with program evaluation and is skilled in analyzing AFCARS, NCANDS, and state-level administrative child welfare data related to maltreatment, permanency, and placement stability. Sarah Catherine excels at translating research findings for non-research audiences, including data visualization, and has designed and overseen the production of state- and/or site-level fact sheets on child welfare financing, child maltreatment, foster care, permanency, relative caregiving, and transition age foster youth. In addition to administrative data, she also has experience using state-level policy data from the State Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Policies Database to examine the influence of the child welfare policy context on outcomes for families and children. Sarah Catherine has more than ten years’ experience managing research and evaluation projects of varying sizes. Before starting a research career at Child Trends, she held several child-, family-, or community-focused positions, including a special education teacher for Atlanta Public Schools, an environmental education volunteer with Peace Corps Nicaragua, and a bi-lingual family engagement specialist.

Her research experience and interests include: increasing and supporting organizational capacity to use data in evidence-based decision making; the intersection of racialized poverty-related neglect and child welfare involvement; policies related to the mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect; unaccompanied refugee minors; post-release services for unaccompanied children; child welfare financing; opioid abuse and its impact on children and the foster care system; kinship navigation services; relative search and engagement techniques for children in foster care; diligent recruitment of foster and adoptive parents; and child welfare court advocacy practices.