A Foundation of Strengths. A Vision of Justice. A Mission of Change.



Building on strengths and 
resources to reach goals and 
address challenges

We embrace the inherent worth of all people, and recognize the strength and power that exists within each individual.  By focusing on strengths, we seek to make positive changes at the micro and macro levels.  This approach harnesses the valuable traits that already exist, and channel them in a constructive way to attain goals and overcome barriers. Building upon the work of previous scholars, the KU School of Social Welfare formally named and articulated the Strengths Perspective in an essay for the journal Social Work (Weick, Rapp, Sullivan, & Kisthardt, 1989), and it continues to positively influence our approach to scholarship, education, research, and practice.


Research Projects

Pathways to Recovery

  • PI: Mabry, Ally

California Compliance Project

  • PI: Mabry, Ally
  • Funder: California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions
  • Dates: 07/01/18 to 06/30/19



Ally Mabry, Research Project Director

Edward Scanlon

Scholarship Focus
Policies and services involving adults with mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system or who are homeless.

 Grand Challenge
Promote smart decarceration. End homelessness.

Amy Mendenhall, Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Research

Amy Mendenhall

Scholarship Focus
Children’s mental health including serious mental illness, service utilization, parent and child education and the impact of mental illness on children and their families.

 Grand Challenge
Achieve equal opportunity and justice. Close the health gap. Ensure health development for all youth.

Social Welfare Research Office Contacts
Amy Mendenhall, Associate Dean for Research
amendenhall@ku.edu | 785-864-4792
Jenni Atwood, Manager
atwoodj@ku.edu | 785-864-7368
Social Welfare Research Events
Recent Publications & Presentations

Mendenhall, A.N., Grube, W., & Jung, E. (2019). Implementing Strengths Model for Youth in Community Mental Health: Impact on Case Managers’ Professional Quality of Life. Children and Youth Services Review.

Schuetz, N., Mendenhall, A.N., & Grube, W. (2019). Strengths Model for Youth Case Management: Professionals’ Perceptions of Model Impact on Clients. Social Work in Mental Health, 17(4), 426-448.

Koenig, Terry, and Sachiko Gomi, Global Partnership for Transformative Social Work, "Growth and transformation in social work," Burlington, Vermont. (2018).

Mabry, Ally, and Rick Goscha, "Strengths Model Workshop," Napa, California. (June 2019 - June 20, 2019).

Mabry, Ally, "Strengths Model- Pre-Implementation Considerations," Kansas City, MO. (June 2019).

Mabry, Ally, and Bryan Knowles, Johnson County Mental Health Center, "Strengths Model Case Management Workshop," Shawnee, KS. (May 2019).

Mabry, Ally, Bryan Knowles, and Rick Goscha, Evidence-Based Best Practices Symposium, "Strengths Model For Justice Involved Individuals," Burbank, CA. (April 2019).

Mabry, Ally, and Bryan Knowles, Hong Fook Mental Health Association, "Strengths Model Case Management Workshop and Supervisor's Forum," Toronto, Canada. (November 2018).

Mabry, Ally, Rick Goscha, and Matthew Blankers, Eastern Sierra Strengths Model Learning Collaborative, "Strengths Model Case Management Presentation on Implementation," June Lake, CA. (July 2018).

Mendenhall, Amy, Elizabeth Schoenfeld, Brooke White, and Whitney Grube, 32nd Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health, "The Strengths Model: Applications for Innovative Work with Youth.," Tampa, FL. (March 2019).

Canda, Edward R, and Hwi-Ja Canda, Department of Social Work, Theological Faculty, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, "Recent trends in connecting spiritual diversity to social work practice.," Olomouc, Czech Republic. (June 2019).

Canda, Edward R, and Hwi-Ja Canda, Symposium on Spiritual, Religious and Existential Wellbeing in Health and Social Care, Brunel University, London, UK, "Supporting optimal living and spiritual growth at the end of life.," Brunel University, London, UK. (June 2019).

Canda, Edward R, The 2st Century Human Values Forum: Life, Embracing the Values of Living, Korea Foundation for Cultures and Ethics, Andong, Republic of Korea, "Optimal living and dying: Integrating Confucian insights with contemporary social welfare.," Andong, Republic of Korea. (September 2018).