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Katharine Cahn
Katharine Cahn



  • Executive Director of the Center for Improvement of Child & Family Services
  • Professor of Practice, School of Social Work


  • PhD, Social Work and Social Welfare Research, Portland State University
  • MSW, Community and Organizational Studies, University of Washington
  • BASW, American Studies/Political Science, Reed College

PSU History
First participated in PSU's doctoral program and graduated in Summer 2003.  Started working October 2004 in both roles as Executive Director for the Child Welfare Partnership and an Assistant Professor. Served as Assistant Dean for Continuing Education from 2011-2016. Promoted to Professor of Practice in 2019. 

Academic/Research Focus

  • Child welfare practice
  • Racial equality in child and family serving systems
  • Supervision, leadership, and systems change
  • Organizational and systems change in human services
  • Implementation, change management and diffusion of Innovation
  • Youth and family voice
  • System of Care in child welfare and children's mental health

Personal Interests
Time with family, playing outside (walking, hiking, gardening), seeing plays, and eating in any one of Portland's great restaurants.

Contact Information; 503-725-8122

Curriculum Vitae