FSU Foundation

Social Work Professor Appointed to Child Welfare Professorship

Professor Melissa Radey

The FSU College of Social Work has appointed Professor Melissa Radey to the Agnes Flaherty Stoops Professorship in Child Welfare. Radey is the second social work professor to hold this honor. Recently retired professor Karen Randolph held this honor for the last thirteen years.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Radey has demonstrated a strong commitment to scholarship, service and teaching that addresses the challenges experienced by children and families in the state of Florida and across the nation,” said Craig Stanley, interim dean and teaching professor at the College of Social Work. “Her research on inequality in the child welfare system is highly regarded and establishes her as a leader in the field.”

In her research, Radey seeks to develop strategies to promote the survival and wellbeing of low-income families in disadvantaged environments. Most recently, she examined the economic, social and health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on single-mother families, noting severe disruption of support and resources during the pandemic. Her work also considers the demands and wellbeing of frontline workers who serve low-income families. In this area, she is currently examining violence perpetrated by clients. Early findings suggest that the context surrounding violent incidents (i.e., level of spontaneity, personal attack, and agency responsiveness) contribute to worker well-being and retention.

Radey is a faculty affiliate of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, housed at the College of Social Work. Her work with the institute has targeted improving the delivery of support services to better promote child, family, and provider outcomes.

The professorship provides annual financial support to further aid Radey’s ability to conduct child welfare research.

“I am humbled and honored to be appointed as the Agnes Flaherty Stoops professor,” said Radey. “The professorship provides essential support to enhance my research agenda and collaborations. I am excited about the opportunity to advance my work to inform service delivery for some of the most vulnerable among us.”

Radey is also an active community member in the child welfare field, serving as a board member for the Big Bend Continuum of Care, providing valuable expertise to assist low-income families with housing support. She is also an active mentor and collaborator with students and colleagues.

The professorship was fully endowed in 2004 by Jeffrey and Agnes Flaherty Stoops, FSU alumni and longtime supporters of Florida State University. The professorship was their first major gift to Florida State. Since then they have established the Jeffrey A. Stoops Professorship in Law, and the Stoops Family Foundation has established scholarships in law and the Center for the Study and Promotion for Communities, Families and Children at the College of Social Work. The Stoops are also supporters of the Athletic Academic Support Program and the Seminole Boosters.