Mary Rauktis

  • Research Assistant Professor

Mary Elizabeth Rauktis earned a PhD in social work and a Master’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a BSN from Duquesne University. She is a Research Assistant Professor and faculty for The Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center.

Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, Dr. Rauktis was Director of Research and Evaluation at Pressley Ridge, an international nonprofit provider of services to children and families. She has been an adjunct at the school since 1993, and has held adjunct positions at Robert Morris University’s Bayer School for Nonprofit Management and at the University of Minho, Institute of Child and Family Studies in Portugal.

Dr. Rauktis is currently on the editorial board for the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, and is co-editing a special issue of Child and Adolescent Social Work with faculty from the University of Lisboa on Innovative Social Work Practice in Lusophone Countries (Portuguese Speaking).

Research Interests

  • Measurement
  • Decision-making processes in child welfare
  • Living environments for children and youth in out of home care
  • Biracial and multi-racial families involved in child welfare services
  • Adoption of best practices in child welfare service

Funded projects

2016-2018: Florence Stier Endowed Fund School of Social Work. Study: Animal ownership in low-income households:  Is there a relationship between human and animal food insecurity?

2012: Understanding the experiences of White Mothers of Black/White Children. Funder: Center on Race and Social Problems

2007-2011:  Co-PI Fidelity to family group principles.  Goals were to assess and report on fidelity to 60+ counties in Pennsylvania regarding their practice of family group decision making.  Funder:  Pennsylvania Office of Children Youth and Families.

2008-2011:   Consultant, Venango Department of Human Services.  Goals were to evaluate intensive community support program for young adults.  Funder:  Venango county.

2009-2011:  PI. Youth perception of living environments.  The goal was to revise the measurement of restrictiveness of living   environment for children and youth in out of home care.  Funder:  Casey Family Services and Pressley Ridge.

2007-2009:  Co-PI Racial Disparity and Service Pathways for Youth in Allegheny County.  Funder:  Center on Race and Social Problems, University of Pittsburgh

Representative Publications

Mary Elizabeth Rauktis, Ph.D., Hyunji Lee MSW. "Animal ownership in low-income households: Is there a relationship between human and animal food insecurity?"

Rauktis, M. E. (2015).  “When you first get there, you wear red”:  Youth perceptions of point and level systems in group home care. Published online before print, June 27, 2015. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal DOI 10.1007/s10560-015-0406-4.

Fusco, R. A., & Rauktis, M. E. (2012) Transracial mothering and maternal risk: Are mothers of biracial children different? Child Welfare , 9, 55-77.

Rauktis, M. E., Bishop-Fitzpatrick, L, Jung, N & Pennel, J. Family group decision making: measuring fidelity to practice principles in public child welfare. Children and Youth Services Review 

Rauktis, M. E., Huefner, J., & Cahalane, H.  Perceptions of fidelity to family group decision making principles:  examining the impact of race, gender and relationship.  Child Welfare.  Vol. 90, No. 4, 41-59.

Rauktis, M. E., Fusco, R. A., Cahalane, H., Bennett, I., & Reinhart, S. M. (2011) . “Try to make it seem like we’re regular kids” Children and Youth Services Review 33, 1224–1233.

Manso, A & Rauktis, M. E. (2011) What is Therapeutic Alliance and Why Does it Matter? Reclaiming Children and Youth, 19, 4 45-50.

Fusco, R.A., Rauktis, M.E., McCrae, J.S., Cunningham, M.A, & Bradley-King, C.R.(2010).  Aren’t they just Black kids? Biracial children in the child welfare system. Child & Family Social Work 15, 441-451.

McCrae, J., Barth, R., Lee, B., & Rauktis, M. E.(2010) Comparing Three Years of Well-Being Outcomes for Youth in Group Care and Non-Kinship Foster Care. Child Welfare.89(2):229-49

Rauktis, M. E., McCarthy, S., Krackhardt, D., & Cahalane, H. G. (2010).

Innovation in child welfare: The adoption and implementation of Family Group Decision Making in Pennsylvania. Children and Youth Services Review
32, 5, 732-739.

Rauktis, M. E., Huefner, J., O’Brien, K., Pecora, P., Doucette, A. & Thompson, R.  (2009).Measuring Restrictiveness of Living Environments for Children and Youth:  Re-conceptualizing Restriction.  Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 17, 3, 147-163.

Manso, A., Rauktis, M. E., & Boyd, A. S. (2008).  Youth expectations about therapeutic alliance in a residential setting.  Residential Treatment for Children and Youth. 25, 1, 55-72.

Boyd, A. S., Einbinder, S. D., Rauktis, M. E. Portwood, S. G. (2007).  Building Research Capacity in Residential Treatment Centers:  An Approach for Empirical Studies.  Child and Youth Care Forum 36, 143-58.

Rauktis, M. E., Andrade, A. R., Doucette, A., McDonough, L., & Reinhart, S.(2005)  Treatment Foster Care and Relationships:  Understanding the role of therapeutic alliance between youth and treatment parent. 


Areas of Expertise