Melanie completed her Master in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and her Bachelor in Applied Arts in Criminal Justice at St Thomas University. Prior to pursuing her graduate work, Melanie worked as a Research Assistant at the Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy (CRISP) at UNB alongside Dr. Doug Willms, and most recently as a Project Officer for the Government of New Brunswick’s Integrated Service Delivery for Children and Youth project until July 2014. Melanie has also been involved in various youth engagement initiatives in New Brunswick, such as the Youth in Care Network (NBYICN), and is very passionate about providing youth currently and formerly in care with opportunities to voice their opinions and influence government policies and approaches to service delivery. She was a panelist and presenter at the N.B. Youth in Care Hearings at the provincial legislature on November 29th, 2012 and has been working closely with the N.B. government on child protection services policy reform efforts via the network.
Melanie is currently in her second year of her PhD in social work at McGill University’s School of Social Work, and joined the Centre for Research on Children and Families as part of the Building Research Capacity project in partnership with SSHRC in fall 2014. She teaches a Master’s of Social Work Youth Justice at the School of Social Work, and is a recipient of the 2014 Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship as well as the SSHRC Doctoral scholarship. Melanie continuously aspires to become a university professor, a research consultant, an author, a motivational speaker, and a mentor to and advocate for disadvantaged children and youth, especially those involved in the child welfare system.
Stemming from her unique childhood experience as a child in care, Melanie's main research interests are rooted in child and youth issues as they pertain to education, health, environment, poverty, delinquency, prevention, intervention and public policy. Melanie's doctoral research will focus on an analysis of former youth in care through the examination of the crucial transition period out of the child welfare system. She aims to specifically examine the types of supports and services received during the transition period and their impact on former youth in care, and illustrate what it means to "age" out of the child welfare system through a mixed methods approach. Specific policy recommendations relevant to child welfare policies, programs and intervention strategies will also be addressed. Through her research, Melanie aims to add to the existing literature on youth aging out of care, child protection services reform and transformational change in the context of child welfare in Canada.
Contact: melanie.doucet [at] mcgill.ca (Email)