Brenda Jones Harden

Brenda Jones Harden, PhD, is the Richman Professor for Children and Families at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work and the Vice President of the ZERO TO THREE Board of Directors.

Brenda Jones Harden

Vice President

Contributions to the Field

For more than 35 years, Dr. Jones Harden has focused on the developmental and mental health needs of young children at environmental risk, specifically children who have been maltreated, are in the foster care system, or have been exposed to multiple family risks such as maternal depression, parent substance use, and poverty. She is particularly interested in using this research to inform practice, with respect to preventive interventions to promote positive outcomes for children reared in high-risk circumstances, such as home visitation and Early Head Start.


  • Professor Emerita of the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at University of Maryland College Park

Current Research

Dr. Jones Harden is currently working on a major evaluation of an Early Head Start-child care partnership initiative and the implementation and evaluation of a group-based intervention to promote language development in infants and toddlers from low-income backgrounds. In addition, she is completing three studies: (1) an implementation and impact evaluation of an intervention to reduce the toxic stress experienced by children enrolled in Early Head Start, (2) an impact evaluation of a rural home visiting program focused on pre-literacy, and (3) and implementation evaluation of a local Educare program.

Recent Honors/Awards/Recognition/Books Published

Dr. Jones Harden is the author/co-author of numerous publications, including the books Infants in the Child Welfare System: A Developmental Framework for Policy and Practice; Child Welfare and Child Well-Being: New Perspectives From the National Survey of Child Adolescent Well-being; and Beyond Common Sense: Child Welfare, Child Well-Being, and the Evidence for Policy Reform. She was a visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Harris Visiting Scholar at the University of Minnesota Institute for Child Development. She has also served as Fellow for the Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellow for the Administration for Children & Families, USDHHS; and a Fellow of ZERO TO THREE.

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