Megan Piel

Megan Piel

Assistant Professor

Megan Piel


Megan Piel joined the WSU School of Social Work faculty in 2015. She received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University and was a Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. Her research focuses on the intersection of child welfare and mental health, with attention to foster youth and transitions to adulthood.

Dr. Piel’s experience in social work settings includes providing interventions and program supervision for youth and emerging adults in behavioral health and foster care group homes and schools. The scope of her work is inherently interdisciplinary as it focuses on intervention with vulnerable populations involved in multiple service systems.

Click here for view Curriculum Vitae

Degrees and Certifications

• PhD, Social Work, Arizona State University
• MSW, Arizona State University
• BS, Biopsychology, Nebraska Wesleyan University

Teaching Interests

• Interpersonal Practice with Children and Families
• Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice
• Emerging Adulthood

Areas of Expertise


• Child welfare and well-being
• Youth aging out of foster care
• Responsive engagement in mental health 
• Foster family resilience and satisfaction


• Community-based intervention research
• Behavior analytic methods
• Qualitative data analysis
• Quantitative data analysis

Research Project

Barriers and Strategies to Mental Health for Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
Funded by the Wayne State University Office of the Provost, Dr. Piel is conducting research to understand the experiences of former foster youth as they navigate their mental health needs and services and aging out of foster care. Findings from this research provide much needed insight to child welfare and behavioral health professionals to adequately assess and support the mental health needs of transition-age foster youth.

Foster Youth Community College Access and Retention
Dr. Piel is also collaborating with Wayne County Community College District on a three-year grant, funded by the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, to develop and evaluate a campus-based support program for students with a history of foster care. The goal of the project is to increase access, retention, and graduation rates for students at the community college level and to create a pipeline of educational support from high schools to community colleges to four-year universities.

Foster Family Resilience
Families who foster serve an important role in the child welfare system, providing safe and stable homes to children and youth who have experienced abuse and neglect. To understand how foster families cope and adapt over time to the unique challenges of fostering, Dr. Piel has partnered with collaborators at Arizona State University and the University of Illinois Chicago on three projects examining risks, strengths, and healthy functioning of foster families. Implications from these research projects provided important insight into key retention and recruitment efforts.

Office Location

5447 Woodward Avenue, Rm 047

Courses Taught

SW 5755 Introduction to Child Welfare

SW 6100 Child Welfare and Social Systems: Context for Case Management Practice

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