Home/About/Board of Directors/Brenda Jones Harden
Brenda Jones Harden Headshot

Brenda Jones Harden

Brenda Jones Harden, PhD, is Professor of Social Work at Columbia School of Social Work and the President of the ZERO TO THREE Board of Directors.

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.


  • Alison Richman Professor of Children and Families, University of Maryland School of Social Work, and Director, Prevention and Early Adversity Research Laboratory at University of Maryland

Current Research

Dr. Jones Harden is currently working on three evaluations of early childhood interventions: (1) an Early Head Start-child care partnership initiative; (2) a local Educare program; and (3) an intervention to buffer children enrolled in Early Head Start against experiences of toxic stress. In addition, she recently has been funded with colleagues to conduct two studies: (1) the effects of early adversity on young children’s brain development and behavioral outcomes from infancy through early childhood; and (2) an implementation and impact of evaluation of an intervention to promote Head Start teacher well-being.

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 PracticeChild 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.