Kyndra Cleveland

  • Research Associate, School of Social Work and Center on Race and Social Problems

Dr. Kyndra Cleveland, Research Associate in the School of Social Work and the Center on Race and Social Problems, received her M.A. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of California, Irvine, where she specialized in psychology & law and quantitative methods. Kyndra was an inaugural Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, and most recently served as a Research Scientist at UCLA. She has a decade of research experience with children and families and seeks to improve relations between courts and families through translational research, policy, and practice.

Dr. Cleveland serves as an expert consultant for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the American Bar Association. She is also the Membership Chair of the Executive Committee for the Child Well-Being Research Network. Her research has been funded by agencies including the Children’s Bureau, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Through her research, she seeks to center the voices of parents and families, promote social justice, and engage legal systems to improve transparency and overall fairness in court practices.

Research Interests

-Improving Juvenile Dependency practice, policy, and decision-making by promoting fair practices, participant voice, family-based outcomes, and social justice.

Select Funded Projects

  • Principal Investigator (2020-2021), We Are Strong Too: An Investigation of Parent Strengths in Juvenile Dependency Cases, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
  • Co-Principal Investigator (2021-), United for Children Equity Evaluation, United Way.
  • Co-Principal Investigator (2021-), Pitt Assisted Communities and Schools, The RK Mellon Foundation.

Select Publications

Cleveland, K.C. (2021). Justice for Families: International Perspectives on Improving Parent Understanding in Child Welfare Court Cases. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 10, 116-121.

Cleveland, K.C., Wu, Y., Hartman, D., Goodman, G. S. (2021). Memory Development: Stress, Emotion and Trauma. To appear in M.L. Courage & N. Cowan (Eds.) The development of memory in infancy and childhood. In Press.

Cleveland, K.C. & Mihalec Adkins, B.P. (2021). Parent Engagement in the Child Welfare Court: Legal Policy and Parents’ Perspectives. To appear in Child and Family-Serving Systems: A Compendium of Policy and Practice. Child Welfare League of America and The Ohio State University.

Cleveland, K.C. & Quas, J.A. (2020). Juvenile dependency court: The role of race in decisions, outcomes, and participant experiences. In M. Stevenson, B. Bottoms, & K. Burke (Eds.), The legacy of racism for children: Psychology, law, and public policy. Oxford University Press.

Cleveland, K.C., & Quas, J.A. (2020). What’s fair in child welfare? Parent knowledge, attitudes, and experiences. Child Maltreatment, 1-13. doi:10.1177/1077559520975499

Glendening, Z., Shinn, M., Brown, S., Cleveland, K. C., Cunningham, M. & Pergamit, M. (2020). Supportive housing for precariously housed families in the child welfare system: Who benefits most? Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105-206. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105206

Olaguez, A.P., Castro, A., Cleveland, K.C., Klemfuss, J.Z., Quas, J.A. (2019). Using implicit encouragement to increase narrative productivity in children: Preliminary evidence and legal implications. Journal of Child Custody. doi:10.1080/15379418.2018.1509758

Cleveland, K.C., & Quas, J.A. (2018). Parents’ understanding of the juvenile dependency system. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 24, 459-473.

Cleveland, K.C., Quas, J.A., & Lyon, T.D. (2018). The effects of implicit encouragement and the putative confession on children’s memory reports. Child Abuse & Neglect, 80, 113-122. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.03.024

Cleveland, K.C., Quas, J.A., & Lyon, T.D. (2016). Valence, implicated actor, and children’s acquiescence to false suggestions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 43, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2015.12.003

Cleveland, K.C. & Quas, J. (2016). Adults’ insensitivity to developmental changes in children’s ability to report when and how many times abuse occurred. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 34, 126-138. doi:10.1002/bsl.2211

Klemfuss, J.Z., Cleveland, K.C., Quas, J.A., & Lyon, T.D. (2016). Relations between attorney temporal structure and children’s response productivity in cases of alleged child sexual abuse. Legal and Criminological Psychology. doi:10.1111/lcrp.12096

Cleveland, K.C., Quas, J.A., & Denzel, S. (2015). Forensic interviewing of child witnesses in the United States: Training protocols and practices. In D. Walsh, G. Oxburgh, A. Redlich, & T. Myklebust (Eds.), International developments and practices in investigative interviewing and interrogation (Volume 1: Victims and witnesses). Oxford: Routledge.

Cleveland, K.C. & Quas, J.A. (2014). Ethical considerations when conducting research on children’s eyewitness abilities.  In R. Sternberg & S. Fiske (Eds.), Ethical challenges in the behavioral and brain sciences. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Cooper A., Quas J. A., and Cleveland K. C. (2014) The emotional child witness: Effects on juror decision-making. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 32, 813–828. doi:10.1002/bsl.2153