Chi-Fang Wu

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Dr. Wu received her master’s degree in social work from National Taiwan University in 1993 and her PhD in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004. She worked as a policy planner and evaluator at Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission, Executive Yuan or Cabinet in Taiwan after she received her master’s degree. She joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2005 after working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught courses in social welfare planning, policy practice and practice, PhD social welfare policy, program evaluation, and social work research methods. Dr. Wu’s research and practice interests include poverty, social welfare policy, the impact of welfare reform on low-income families, access to public benefits and support services for low-income families, and program evaluation. She has focused her research agenda on three distinct yet interrelated topics: (1) the effects of financial sanctions on the well-being of welfare participants; (2) access to public benefits and related supports for low-income families; and (3) the long-term employment and earnings trajectories of at-risk families.

Her overarching interest is in assessing the effectiveness of different strategies for promoting economic advancement. Her research has made contributions in identifying the dynamics and effects of welfare sanctions, and in understanding whether and how public and private assistance helps low-income families meet their basic needs. Her research has also contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms and pathways to employment and earnings success, and to developing a conceptual approach to categorizing employment and earnings trajectories among low-income families. She has extensive experience analyzing complex, longitudinal, state administrative data and national, population-based data using sophisticated statistical methods.


BA, Social Work, Tunghai University, Taiwan, 1990

MA, Social Work, National Taiwan University, 1993

PhD, Social Work, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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public benefits Social Sciences
low income Social Sciences
welfare Social Sciences
assistance Social Sciences
underemployment Social Sciences
Mothers Medicine & Life Sciences
sanction Social Sciences
social work Social Sciences

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Research Output 2005 2019

The Dreams of Mothers: Implications of Sen’s Capability Approach for Single Mothers on Welfare

Kim, S. M., Wu, C. F. & Woodard, R., Jan 1 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Journal of Poverty.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

study program
qualitative interview

Assisting Caregivers with Frail Elderly in Alleviating Financial Hardships

Wang, M. S. & Wu, C. F., Aug 18 2018, In : Social Work in Public Health. 33, 6, p. 396-406 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Frail Elderly
Financial Support
Public Policy
Social Work

Does Lack of Health Insurance Mediate the Relationship Between Employment Hardships and Unmet Health Care Needs Among Single Mothers?

Wu, C-F., Eamon, M. K. & Wang, M. S., Nov 1 2017, In : Journal of Family Issues. 38, 16, p. 2227-2253 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

employment relationship
health insurance
health care

Social work and engineering: Lessons from a water filtration project in Guatemala

Matthew, L. E., Piedra, L., Wu, C-F., Kramer Diaz, A., Wang, H., Straub, A. P. & Nguyen, T. H., Nov 1 2017, In : International Social Work. 60, 6, p. 1578-1590 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

social work

The conditions and strategies for success of local currency movements

Kim, S. M., Lough, B. J. & Wu, C-F., Jan 1 2016, In : Local Economy. 31, 3, p. 344-358 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Strategy implementation
Household income