Amanda Cruce

Amanda Cruce is a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social work. She holds an MSW from the University of Texas at Arlington and a BA in international studies from Austin College in Texas. 

Prior to returning to school, Amanda was a foster parent in Florida and worked to enhance the child welfare system, improving the culture surrounding LGBTQ+ youth, normalcy, foster parent engagement, birth parent involvement, and teen voice. Through this work, she was honored to speak at the “White House Convening on Developmentally Appropriate Services for Children, Youth, and Young Adults in Foster Care” and to subsequently work as a lived experience technical expert for Casey Family Programs and the Capacity Building Center for States. She provided in-depth TA to states around policy implementation and how to improve communication between youth, foster parents, and professionals to make cohesive culture change.

Amanda’s research interests include the integration of lived experience into research, community-based research practices, child welfare reform, disproportionality in foster care, and LGBTQ+ youth in foster care.