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Inaugural Integrated Behavioral Health Symposium

Kathleen Hayes, PhD

Director, Institute for Families in Society

Making Change Happen

Dr. Kathleen Hayes has dedicated her life to helping vulnerable children and families. For most of her career, she has done this through the South Carolina state government. In this capacity, she has served as Director of Adoptions and State Director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS); and Chief of Staff and Program Developer at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). She currently serves as the Associate Director of the USC Institute for Families in Society. Created in the early 1990s, the Institute conducts interdisciplinary research to reduce child abuse, strengthen families and communities, and improve the health of vulnerable child and adult populations.
Dr. Hayes is interested in systems’ reform, or as she put it, “changing the fabric” of society that places children and families in harm’s way or creates obstacles to their success. A major focus of her work at DSS was to facilitate the shift in focus from “graduating” children from foster care to improving children’s lives, by giving them the support and stable families needed to overcome trauma and developmental delays, and by encouraging agency and community efforts to support their transition into successful adulthood.

At the Institute, Dr. Hayes is continuing such work, working with a team of highly dedicated researchers whose projects are focused on children and families. “Researchers doing work at the Institute are doing it because they want their findings to actually help a family or a parent or a child,” she said. “We believe that the more we can bring this reality together with our work, the more powerful it is."

Research Background

With a PhD in psychology, Dr. Hayes has extensive experience working with foundations and federal ACYF competitive grant programs. Her career interests have included work on the adoption of special needs and minority children, child welfare reform, improving the child abuse/neglect and juvenile justice systems, and engaging fathers and families with their schools and communities. In her current position, she focuses on research that will enable improvements in juvenile justice that involve greater engagement of families with youth being served by the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

Kathleen Hayes

Contact Information
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  • 803.777.1538
  • pdf icon tiny Curriculum Vita

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