Faculty Directory

Ruth McRoy

Professor Emerita

Co-Director, RISE3


In  September 2009, Ruth G. McRoy, PhD, became the first holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College School of Social Work. She is a Co-Founding Director with Tiziana Dearing and David Takeuchi of the Research and Innovations in Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity (RISE) at Boston College.

Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, Dr. McRoy was a member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work faculty for 25 years and held the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professorship. She received her BA and MSW degrees from the University of Kansas and her PhD degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. McRoy’s teaching focuses on the History and Philosophy of American Social Welfare and Contemporary Issues in Adoption and Foster Care.  Her  research and scholarship has focused on many topics including racial disproportionality in child welfare, family preservation, kinship care, longitudinal study of outcomes of  openness in adoptions for birthmothers, adoptive parents, and adopted children, adoptive family recruitment and retention, minority recruitment, racial identity development, transracial adoptions, older child adoptions, and post-adoption services.

She has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters and twelve  books, including: Openness in Adoption: Family Connections (with H. Grotevant), Challenging Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare (with D. Green, K. Belanger, and L. Bullard), Building Research Culture and Infrastructure (with J. Flanzer & J. Zlotnik) and Transracial and Intercountry Adoptions: Culturally  Sensitive Guidance for Professionals (with R. Fong)

Over the years, Dr. McRoy has had numerous federal, state, foundation, and local research grants. Currently as part of the federally funded AdoptUSKids project, which is operated through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Dr. McRoy and her research team recently completed two nationwide studies (2002-2007) on barriers to adoption and factors associated with successful special needs adoptions. Currently, she is leading an evaluation team which is conducting a ten year (2007-2017) evaluation of all components of AdoptUSKids.

Dr. McRoy recently completed her term as Board Member of the Society for Social Work and Research,  as Board Member and President of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), as Chair of the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Diversity and Social and Economic Justice, and as Senior Research Fellow and Donaldson Adoption Institute Board Member.   She currently is Co-Chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s Diversity Center , Co-lead of the Social Work Grand Challenge Achieving serves  on the Board of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston, on the Rudd Adoption Advisory Board,  and Program Chair and Board Member of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency.   She is Vice-President of the Black Administrators, Researchers and Scholars (BARS), is a member of the Walker Trieschman Institute for Research and Training’s Professional Advisory Council on Legal Permanency for All Children. 

Dr. McRoy's honors include the following: 2004 Flynn Prize for Social Work Research from the University of Southern California, the 2005 George Silcott Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Administrators in Child Welfare, the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research, the 2006-2007 University of Texas at Austin Graduate School’s Outstanding Alumna Award, the 2010 St. John’s Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award, the 2013 U.S. Children's Bureau Adoption Excellence Award, the 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award, and the 2014 Charles I. Wright Distinguished Alumna Award by the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. In 2010 she was selected as a fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.