Karen Saywitz Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research / Practice in the Field of Child Maltreatment

This annual award recognizes significant contributions to the field of child and family policy and practice by a researcher or practitioner who is within 8 years of receiving a terminal degree.


Sponsor: Division 37


Beginning in 2002, the Section on Child Maltreatment instituted an award to recognize researchers and practitioners who have made substantial contributions to the field within 10 years of receiving a terminal degree and who have demonstrated the potential to continue such contributions. Starting in 2016, the Section Awards Committee is accepting nominations in either of two categories: outstanding contributions to research or outstanding contributions to practice. Each category will be judged separately.


Nominees should be professionals within 10 years of receiving their terminal degree. They need not be a member of the section. Self-nominations are welcome. This award is presented at the APA Annual Convention.

How to Apply

Nominations should include an electronic copy of the following:

  • a summary of the nominee’s accomplishments to date and anticipated future contributions: This summary should describe the nominee’s major accomplishments related to the field of child maltreatment and how the nominee’s work has impacted the field.

  • the nominee’s current curriculum vitae

  • a letter of support

  • other relevant supporting material, as appropriate

Applications will be reviewed by the Section Awards Committee.

Please submit applications by April 16, 2021, to: Stephanie Block, PhD, past president, Section on Child Maltreatment.

Applicants will be notified of the decision in May. The award will be presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. The award includes a 1-year free membership in the Section on Child Maltreatment.

Past Recipients

Deborah Goldfarb, PhD, Florida International University


Karen Saywitz Early Career Award: Sue Hobbs. PhD


Karen Saywitz Early Career Award: Susan Yoon, PhD

Outstanding Contributions to Research and Practice: Charissa Pizarro, PsyD


Elizabeth Handley, PhD


Apryl Alexander, PsyD


Natacha Godbout, PhD


Angelique Day, PhD


Kristin Valentino, PhD


Kathryn Howell, PhD


Karen Appleyard Carmody, PhD, LCSW

Carmody is a licensed psychologist and clinical associate at the Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center. Carmody received her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in clinical and developmental psychology from the University of Minnesota. Her post-doctoral training was completed at the University of North Carolina's Center for Developmental Science. Carmody is engaged in several program evaluation and dissemination projects for evidence-based practices for children who have experienced trauma and early adversity. She is working with Mary Dozier, PhD, and a team at CCFH to develop the nation's first Learning Collaborative focused on the dissemination of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC). She serves as the evaluator for the PCIT of the Carolinas project, the nation's first Learning Collaborative for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Carmody also serves as a clinical supervisor for the Healthy Families Durham home visiting and child maltreatment prevention program and program manager for the Durham Early Head Start Home-Based Program. Carmody also has significant experience providing trauma treatment to children and families. She serves as a clinician and the former co-director of the North Carolina Child Response Initiative, a police-mental health partnership designed to provide crisis intervention and support to children and families who have witnessed domestic and community violence. Carmody's research focuses on the correlates and consequences of attachment and parenting, developmental processes underlying resilience following early adversity, and empirically-based interventions relating to trauma and attachment. Her research is grounded in a developmental psychopathology perspective and in her clinical interests in the outcomes of early adversity, with the goal of advancing interventions with high-risk children.


Staci Perlman, PhD

Perlman is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at Kutztown University. She obtained her doctoral degree in Social Welfare from the School of Soial Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also received her MSW. Her practice and research interests are focused on promoting the well-being of vulnerable young children. She has worked as a preschool teacher and as a direct practitioner providing support to children identified with significant behavioral problems and their families. Perlman's research has focused on using partnership-based research to facilitate collaboration across systems serving vulnerable young children and their families. Her prior research involved using an integrated administrative data system to examine the prevalence, timing, and influence of early experiences of child maltreatment and homelessness on early educational well-being. Her current research is focused on examining the timing trajectories of first experiences of homelessness, child maltreatment, and foster care relative to one another; and making meaningful distinctions between substantiated and unsubstantiated allegations of child maltreatment. She is serving as an external evaluator of several. Currently, she is also the co-chair of the Task Force on Child Maltreatment and Homelessness.


Margaret Stevenson, PhD

Stevenson is an assistant professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Evansville. Previously she was the recipient of the Section's Dissertation Award and then won the First Place Dissertation Award from Div. 41 (American Psychology-Law Society). Stevenson was recently published in the prestigious Psychology, Public Policy and Law. Stevenson has already made 27 conference presentations, and has published four published chapters (comprehensive reviews that are drawing attention in the field), an encyclopedia article, one law review article, and five peer-reviewed journal articles. Both of the psychologists who nominated her endorsed Stevenson as one of the most outstanding young psychologists to enter the child maltreatment field that they have known.


Kimberly Mitchell, PhD

Mitchell is a research assistant professor of psychology and the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center


Michael de Arellano, Medical University of South Carolina


Elissa J. Brown, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the New York University Child Study Center


Kristin Kenefick of the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center

Last updated: July 2022Date created: October 2014