Elissa Madden

PhD, School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin
MSW, School of Social Work, Baylor University
BA, School of Social Work, Baylor University
Full Curriculum Vita
Research Interests
  • Child welfare (foster care)
  • Adoption (public and domestic)
  • Child and family mental health
  • Use of service learning in social work education
Selected Publications

Watt, T., Faulkner, M., Bustillos, S., & Madden, E. E. (Accepted). Foster care alumni and higher education: A descriptive study of post-secondary achievements of foster youth in Texas. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

Madden, E. E., Ryan, S., Aguiniga, D., Killian, M., & Romanchik, B., (2018). The relationship between time and birth mother satisfaction with relinquishmentManuscript submitted for publication to Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 

Aguiniga, D., & Madden, E. E. (2018). Foster care placement process and settings. In E. Trejos & N. Trevino (Eds.), Handbook on foster youth. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

Tobolowsky, B., Madden, E. E., & Scannapieco, M. (2017). Living on the edge: The postsecondary journeys of foster care alumni. College Student Affairs Journal, 35, 86-100. DOI: 10.1353/csj.2017.0007

Chanmugam, A., Madden, E. E., Hanna, M., Ayers-Lopez, S., McRoy, R. G., & Ledesma, K. (2017). Agency-related barriers experienced by families seeking to adopt from foster care. Adoption Quarterly, 20, 25-43. DOI: 10.1080/10926755.2015.1121187

Madden, E. E., Scannapieco, M., Killian, M., & Adorno, G. (2016). Exploratory factorial analysis and reliability of the Child Welfare Trauma-Informed Individual Assessment Tool. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 11, 58-72. DOI: 10.1080/15548732.2016.1231653

Madden, E. E., McRoy, R. G., Chanmugam, A., Kaufman, L., Ledesma, K., & Martin-Hushman, D. (2016). The impact of formal and informal respite care on foster and adoptive parents caring for children involved in the child welfare system. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 33, 523-534. DOI: 10.1007/s10560-016-0447-3

Cronley, C., Madden, E. E., & Davis, J. (2015). Making service-learning partnerships work: Listening and responding to community partners. Journal of Community Practice, 23 (2), 274-289. DOI: 10.1080/10705422.2015.1027801

Madden, E. E., Aguiniga, D., & Zellmann, K. T. (2014). Religious faith and depression among Child Protective Services involved mothers with young children. Journal of Family Strengths, 14(1), 1-20.

Zellmann, K. T., Madden, E. E., & Aguiniga, D. (2014). Bachelor of Social Work students and mental health stigma: Understanding student attitudes. Journal of Social Work Education, 50(4), 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2014.947900

Madden, E. E., Scannapieco, M., & Painter, K. (2014). An examination of retention and length of employment among public child welfare workers. Children and Youth Services Review, 41, 37-44. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.02.015

Madden, E. E., Davis, J., & Cronley, C. (2014). Comparative analysis of service learning in criminal justice and social work education. Journal of Teaching in Higher Education, 19(5), 470-483. DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2014.880680

Madden, E. E., & Aguiniga, D. (2013). Permanency outcomes of child protection mediation in Texas. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 7(1), 98-121. DOI: 10.1080/15548732.2012.740442


Dr. Elissa Madden joined the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work in August 2016 after previously serving as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. She received a doctorate in social work from The University of Texas at Austin and her bachelor's and master’s degrees in Social Work from Baylor University. Dr. Madden’s primary research interest is in the area of child welfare, specifically foster care and adoption. She is a former child welfare conservatorship worker with Child Protective Services (CPS) in Texas and a licensed social worker. Dr. Madden has extensive experience working with children and families in a variety of practice settings. She has co-authored various publications on the experiences of birth mothers who have placed a child for adoption, barriers to adoption from the public child welfare system, the post-secondary experiences and needs of foster alumni, and child welfare workforce issues. She has also presented numerous times at national and international child welfare and social work conferences on various child welfare issues. Dr. Madden currently serves as the Associate Editor of Adoption Quarterly, a peer-reviewed international, multidisciplinary journal that addresses continuity in adoption issues. Most recently, she was appointed for a three year term to the Foster Care Postsecondary Education Workgroup, a subgroup of the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth, and Families. 

Dr. Madden is married to David B. McLendon. They are the proud parents of Michael (2014).