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College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Kristen Seay, Ph.D., MSW

Title: PhD Program Director
College of Social Work
Phone: 803-777-4221
Office: Hamilton 127
Resources: Curriculum Vitae

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Research Center for Child Well-Being(Projects)
Kristen Seay

Research Expertise

  • Addressing health and well-being in vulnerable children and families

  • Parenting

  • Child maltreatment prevention

  • Children and youth involved in the child welfare system or foster care


Kristen Seay joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 2014. Through her scholarship, she seeks to decrease child maltreatment, enhance parenting, and improve the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families at risk for future involvement with the child welfare system. 

Seay leads a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (P20GM130420 7372) addressing social, emotional, and behavioral health and healthy lifestyle behaviors in preschool children through a parenting intervention. She is also the principal investigator of a three-year grant funded by The Duke Endowment to develop a web-based health and education information platform. The database aims to improve child welfare case management and enhance the well-being of children in foster care across South Carolina by increasing the accuracy and efficiency of health and educational record keeping. She is also the principal investigator on a project collaborating with the University of South Carolina Center for Child and Family Studies, which examines the role of social determinants in foster care entry and exit. The work is also funded by The Duke Endowment. Seay has also conducted research on child neglect and emotional maltreatment through a partnership with Children’s Trust of South Carolina through funding from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 

Seay is a prior recipient of a National Research Service Award Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (F31DA034442, Seay, PI) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being, and a Fahs-Beck Doctoral Dissertation Grant. She is on the Administrative Core for the Capstone Maltreatment Center: Center for Innovation in Child Maltreatment at Washington University in St. Louis (PI: Melissa Jonson-Reid) and an associate member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. 
Prior to her academic career, Seay worked professionally as a social services case manager, investigating child maltreatment for public child welfare agencies in Georgia and Alabama. Her publications have been featured in scholarly journals, including Child Maltreatment, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Prevention Science, Children and Youth Services Review, and The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Seay received a BSW from the University of Georgia, a MSW from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. 

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