Pajarita Charles

PhD, 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

Assistant Professor

(608) 263-3834

306 School of Social Work

Curriculum Vitae

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.