Human Development and Family Studies News

MSU HDFS is now on social media. The department has launched its official Facebook account and twitter account. On Facebook, you can find information about upcoming events, achievements by faculty, staff, and students, and other news. On twitter, you can also find links to articles that you might find interesting. Like and follow our new social media accounts.

In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, Dr. Andrea Wittenborn, associate professor of Couple and Family Therapy, discusses Williams’ last gift—the gift of raising societal awareness about the prevalence and severity of depression among men.  In her Detroit Free Press editorial, Dr. Wittenborn describes what is known about treating the complex disease, as well as the work that lies ahead to improve outcomes for those suffering.

When a graphic videotape was released by TMZ detailing severe domestic  violence perpetrated by the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice against his then fiancée, Janay Palmer, an international dialogue about domestic violence within and outside of the NFL ensued.  Dr. Amy Bonomi indicates domestic violence is a problem throughout society, not just the NFL.  However, the high profile case involving Ray Rice case permits an opening to promote constructive dialogue about violence against women throughout society.  Dr. Bonomi raises questions and considerations to move the world’s recognition of and response to domestic violence.

Two nations – separate and unequal. While this statement is based on an epic book (Savage Inequalities) by Jonathan Kozol, it reflects the reality that racial and ethnic minority youth who are involved in juvenile justice system programs experience daily. Since the adaptation of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act of 1974, jurisdictions have been required to assess disparate treatment of racial and ethnic minority compared to non-Hispanic White youth at nine particular stages of the juvenile justice system. Federal data, however, indicate that disparities across all areas of the juvenile justice continue, with significantly higher rates of arrest, adjudication, and waiver to adult courts among racial and ethnic minority youth.

Youth of Latino ancestry face additional challenges.  However, there is a dearth of information on disparate treatment across youth of Latino ancestry, specifically. Evidenced based programs have tended to neglect Latino youth in the development of models.  As well, there is lack of attention to adapting existing interventions to meet the unique needs of Latino youth from different ancestries (e.g., Mexican, Bolivian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, etc.).

Dr. Francisco (Chico) Villarruel provided testimony at the July 29th Congressional Briefing on how “tough on crime” legislation has exacerbated disproportional outcomes for Latino youth. Sponsored by Representative Cardenas (CA) and organized by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), panelist summarized issues and evolving efforts to address the challenges that Latino youth and their families experience when involved with juvenile justice system programs. Click here to read Dr. Villarruel’s full testimony.

Dr. Francisco Villarruel

Dr. Francisco (Chico) Villarruel

HDFS undergrad Jacqueline Pitone's research was selected as the First Place winner for the Social Science Posters at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum on April 4, 2014. Her research presentation was titled Early Childhood Educators' Beliefs and Practices for Teaching Letter Knowledge to Preschoolers. Jacqueline worked with Dr. Hope Gerde, her faculty mentor, on this project and poster presentation.

Jacqueline Pitone