Pajarita Charles, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009

MSW, Columbia University, 2001

MPA, Columbia University, 2001

BA, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1994

Office Address: 
306 School of Social Work
Telephone: 
(608) 263-3834
Interests: 
Father involvement and parenting practices; paternal incarceration and reentry; child development and family well-being; co-parenting and couple relationships.
Research: 
Pajarita (Paja) Charles’ work focuses on preventive intervention research to improve outcomes for high risk children and families affected by the criminal justice system. Her research more broadly considers how social welfare policies and context affect family stability among economically vulnerable families. Her current research, supported by a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), examines the intersection of father involvement, paternal reentry from prison, and child and family wellbeing. In this project, she is developing and testing a family-centered intervention with fathers recently released from prison to promote positive psychosocial and behavioral child health outcomes through father engagement, high-quality parenting and relationship skills, and extended family involvement. Charles’ work is informed by a developmental-ecological framework taking into account the complex multi-dimensionality of father involvement and parenting in children’s lives. This perspective emphasizes the influence of a child’s ecological system on developmental outcomes, as well as the longitudinal effects of fathers’ characteristics, relational, and contextual factors on paternal engagement.
Faculty Affiliations: 
Institute for Research on Poverty
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