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Robert M. Ortega

Associate Professor of Social Work

Associate Professor Robert Ortega’s research interests are in the areas of relationship development, group work practice, treatment interventions and service utilization particularly in the areas of mental health and child welfare. Dr. Ortega has presented and written on these topics with a special focus on diversity and social justice in research and practice. He has published in the areas of mutual aid, multicultural issues in group work, child welfare permanency planning, family preservation and culturally responsive child welfare practice. He is the principal investigator of the first national study of Latinos and child welfare. He has expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and is currently working on projects related to increasing the pipeline for graduates from under-represented groups into research scientist professions, training child welfare managers and supervisors, and culturally responsive comprehensive child maltreatment assessments and treatment. He is the recipient of the 2013 Recent Distinguished Contributions to Social Work Education awarded by the national Council on Social Work Education. Dr. Ortega serves as consultant on several national research projects and organizations focusing on social work, child welfare and social justice issues.

Research Interests/Focus

Child welfare, juvenile justice, serious mental illness.


Year Degree   School
1991 PhD Social Work and Social Psychology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1987 MA Social Psychology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1983 MSW Families and Groups University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1977 BA Psychology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Gutierrez, L., & Ortega, R. (in press). Developing learning and teaching about diversity and social justice. In Taylor, I., Bogo, M., Teater, B., & Lefevre, M. (eds.), International Handbook of Social Work Education. Routledge.

Ortega, R. M. (in press). Group work and socially just practice. In C. Garvin, L. M. Gutierrez, & M. Galinsky, (Eds.), Handbook of Social Work with Groups (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Duntley-Matos, R., Shiery, M., Ortega, R. M., Matos Serrano, M. M., Newberry, C., & Chapman, M. M. (2017). Promoting LatinX generativity: Cultural humility and transformative complicity through geriatric teams. Special Issue: Ethnogerontology.

Newman, T., Ortega, R., Lower, L., & Paluta, L. (2016). Informing priorities for coaching education: perspectives from youth sport leaders. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 11(3).

Garvin, C., & Ortega, R. M. (2016). Socially just group work practice. In M. Reisch, & C. Garvin (Eds.), Social Work and Social Justice Ch 6. Oxford University Press.

Ortega, R. M. & Gutierrez, L. M. (2016). New directions for teaching about diversity and social justice. In M. Bogg, I Taylor, M Lefevre & B. Teater (eds.), International Handbook of Social Work Education. London, UK: Routledge.

Duntley-Matos, R., Ortega, R. M., Brass, E., Newberry, C., Shiery, M., & Beu, S. (2015). Strengthening trauma-informed systems and child welfare services: Cultural humility, transformative complicity, and empowerment in interdisciplinary teams. In A. Lopez Pelaez (Ed.), Social Work Challenges in the XXI Century: Perspectives from the USA. Thomson Reuters Aranzadi.

Ortega, R. M. (2014). Social welfare and cultural challenges. In L. H. Cousins & J. G. Golson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity. Sage Publications.

Ortega, R. M. (2014). Child welfare issues and challenges. In L. H. Cousins & J. G. Golson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity. Sage Publications.

Ortega, R. M. & Duntley-Matos, R. (2014). Cultural humility and transformative practice. In L. H. Cousins & J. G. Golson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity. Sage Publications.

Chopp, D., Ortega, R., & Vandervort, F. (2014). Arguing on the side of culture. Litigation Journal, Fall 2014, 10-13.

Ortega, R. & Faller, K. C. (2011). Training child welfare workers from an intersectional cultural humility perspective: A paradigm shift. Child Welfare, 90(5), 27-49.

Reed, B. G., Ortega, M., & Garvin, C. (2010). Small group theory and social work practice: Promoting diversity and social justice or recreating inequities? In R. Greene & N. Kropf (Eds.), Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice: A Diversity Framework. N Y: Aldine de Gruyter.

Ortega, R. M., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Ruffolo, M., Clarke, J. & Karb, R. (2010). Racial and ethnic diversity in the initial child welfare experience. In M. B. Webb, K. Dowd, B. J. Harden, J. Landsverk, & M. F. Testa (Eds.), Child Welfare and Child Well-Being; New Perspectives from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. New York: Oxford University Press.

Faller, K. C., Grabarek, M., & Ortega, R. M. (2010). Commitment to Child Welfare Work: What Predicts Leaving and Staying? Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 840-846.

Gonzalez, R. P., Faller, K. C., Ortega, R. M., & Tropman, J. (2009). Exit interviews with departed child welfare workers: Preliminary findings. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(1), 40-63.

Jayaratne, S., Faller, K., Ortega, R., & Vandervort, F. (2008). African American and white child welfare workers' attitudes towards policies involving race and sexual orientation. Children and Youth Services Review, 30(8), 955-966.

Hutchins, C., Ortega, R. M., & Quintanilla, M. (2008). Nuestra Familia, Nuestra Cultura: Promoting and Supporting Latino Families in Adoption and Foster Care. AdoptUSKids Program, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Ruffolo, M., Grogan-Kaylor, A. Ortega, R. M., & Clarke, J. (2008). Behaviors of youth involved in the child welfare system. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32(1), 35-49.

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