The Role of Faith in Healing and Health

Chasing the American Dream

Congregations and Health: Research Directions


Lynn McMillan (PhD Candidate)

Making Change Happen

Lynn McMillan has been a social worker for over 30 years. From her experience working in a children’s advocacy center, McMillan wanted to study how systems, such as the child welfare system, law enforcement, and mental health services, respond to child maltreatment.Thus, she returned to USC for her PhD in social work and hopes to understand how these institutions interact and the subsequent outcomes for children.

In particular, McMillan’s research focuses on child sexual abuse. For her dissertation, she is studying the mothers of sexually abused children and how they make decisions once their children disclose the abuse. McMillan believes that the key to ending child sexual abuse is related to mothers and their decisions about who comes into their children’s lives.

McMillan says that despite the challenges, the work she does inspires her to get out of bed every morning and make change happen in the world. “I want to light a fire under our budding social workers to have that same kind of passion,” she said. Whether as a social work professor or an advocate for abused children, McMillan is busy taking action to improve the lives of children and the systems that are in place to protect them.

Research Interests

Generally: system response to child maltreatment
Specifically: maternal response to child sexual abuse

Dissertation Title

Non-Offending Mothers of Sexually Abused Children: How They Decide Whom to Believe


Andrews, A. B. & McMillan, L. (in press). Evidence-Based Principles for Choosing Programs
to Serve Parents in the Child Welfare System.  Administration in Social Work.


  • November 2012 - Law School for Non-Lawyers: The Family Court Experience, Spartanburg Regional Corporate Education (co-presenter with J. Benjamin Stevens, Esq)
  • October 2012 - Interviewing Victims of Child Abuse: How to avoid re-victimizing children during the interview process and preserve the integrity of the child information, United We Stand…Putting the Pieces Together (An Interpersonal Violence Conference)
  • June 2012 - Attorney Perceptions and Trial Strategies Regarding Non-Offending Mothers in Child Sexual Abuse Cases,20th Annual Colloquium, The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
  • April 2011 - Law School for Non-Lawyers: The Family Court Experience, Spartanburg Regional Corporate Education (co-presenter with J. Benjamin Stevens, Esq)

Other Activities or Awards

  • 2009-current: Subject Matter Expert: for University of South Carolina-Upstate that includes participation in program committee for a annual conference with over 360 participants (2010, 2011, 2012) and input in establishment of a center for Child Advocacy Studies that provides on-going training programs in education, prevention, and intervention of child abuse.
  • 2009-current: Steering Committee for Conference: A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse Through Advocacy and Education; 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013
  • 2010 – current: University of South Carolina, College of Social Work, Field Instructor
  • 2009 – current: Winthrop University, School of Social Work, Field Instructor
  • 2007 – current: University of South Carolina-Upstate, Department of Psychology and Child Advocacy Studies Program, Field Instructor
  • 2004 – current: Limestone College, Social Work Program, Field Instructor

Professional Licensure/Certification

  • LISW-CP, Licensed Independent Social Worker – Clinical Practice, South Carolina
  • LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, North Carolina 
  • ACSW, Academy of Certified Social Workers
  • Certified Family Court Mediator
  • Guardian ad Litem


  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Association of Social Workers – South Carolina Chapter
  • American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children


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