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Sonya J. Leathers

Associate Professor 

BA, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
MA, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration
PhD, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration

Email: sonyal@uic.edu
Telephone: (312) 996-8512 
Room: 4509, ETMSW


Sonya Leathers


Professional Interests

  • Foster care
  • Child and Family Services
  • Permanency Planning

Current Research

  • Mental health services for children and adolescents in foster care
  • Following foster youth into adulthood


  • Evidence-based mental health practice for children and adolescents (certificate program)
  • Social work practice
  • Child and adolescent mental health issues

Practice Experience

Eight years direct practice experience in child welfare settings

Selected Recent Publications

Leathers, S.J., Falconnier, L., & Spielfogel, J.E. (in press). Predicting Family Reunification, Adoption, and Subsidized Guardianship Among Adolescents in Foster Care. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Leathers, S.J., Atkins, M.S., Spielfogel, J.E., McMeel, L.S., Wesley, J.M., & Davis, R. (2009). Context-specific mental health services for foster children. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 1289-1297.

Leathers, S.J., McMeel, L., Prabhughate, A., & Atkins, M.S. (2009). Trends in Child Welfare's Focus on Children's Mental Health and Mental Health Services from 1980-2004. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 445-450.

Affiliations, Associations & Consultations 

Member, Society for Social Work Research

Member, IL Division of Mental Health Committee on Evidence-based Practice for Children Initiative

Consultant, California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

Editorial Reviews

Children and Youth Services Review