Faculty Directory

Elspeth Slayter

Part-Time Faculty


Elspeth Slayter, PhD, MSW, is a part-time faculty member at the Boston College School of Social Work. Dr. Slayter primarily focuses on disability services research related to addictions and child welfare. Her work has documented the prevalence of substance use disorder among people with disabilities nationwide, along with information about disparities in treatment access.  Dr. Slayter also studies the experiences of children and parents with disabilities in the child welfare system nationwide and has documented disparities in access to services for parents with disabilities.  

Dr. Slayter practiced as a forensic social worker in a variety of court-based settings in New York City. These settings included Washington Square Legal Services, where she partnered with New York University law students in the co-representation of parents charged with child abuse and/or neglect. Dr. Slayter went on to work as a social worker and educational consultant for the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division in Brooklyn, where she partnered with guardians ad litem in the representation of children on cases related to child protection, juvenile justice and special education law. Prior to that, Dr. Slayter worked as a social worker in partnership with public defenders at the Bronx Defenders, an early adopter of the “holistic advocacy” model of criminal defense. In the Bronx, Dr. Slayter developed a special interest in the behavioral health concerns of people with disabilities, especially people with intellectual disabilities.

Dr. Slayter obtained both a master’s and doctoral degree in social welfare policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University where her scholarship focused on the disability and health policy arenas.  During her time at Heller, Dr. Slayter was a pre-doctoral trainee supported by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) and an American Fellow supported by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Dr. Slayter received her Master’s degree in social work at New York University in 1995 after completing her undergraduate work in history with a focus on women’s studies, medical history and medical anthropology at Macalester College in 1990.