Balancing the child welfare system

December 14, 2011

Michele Devlin, professor, health education, 319-273-5806,

Mark Grey, professor, sociology, anthropology and criminology, 319-273-6496,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,



CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Two professors at the University of Northern Iowa, Mark Grey and Michele Devlin, have been awarded a $425,000 multi-year contract with the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) to address disproportionate immigrant and minority over-representation in the child welfare system.

"Minority over-representation in the child welfare system is a serious issue facing our state and nation," said Gloria Gibson, executive vice president and provost at UNI. "This award will not only help alleviate the disproportionate burden experienced by immigrants and minorities in the state's child welfare system, but will also contribute to UNI's focus on applied community engagement."

The Iowa DHS is committed to meeting the child welfare needs of all residents of the state in an equitable and fair manner. Grey and Devlin plan on working with DHS staff to review current policies, determine the effectiveness of the programs, provide cross-cultural training and develop a statewide approach to reducing the over-representation of minorities in the child welfare system. They will serve as co-directors and lead consultants for this project while involving a number of other UNI faculty with migration and ethnic minority expertise around campus.

For more information, contact Grey at 319-273-6496 or or Devlin at 319-273-5806 or