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Littleton, Tenesha

Tenesha Littleton

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Office: Little Hall 2007
Phone: 205-348-0049

Areas of Interest and Expertise

  • Child & Family Social Policy
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Housing
  • Neighborhood Effects
  • Parenting
  • Poverty & Inequality


  • MSW Program


  • PhD, University of Georgia
  • MSW, University of Georgia
  • BA, Tulane University


Dr. Tenesha Littleton’s research focuses on how socio-structural factors impact parenting behaviors and experiences, including the risk of contact with child protective services. Dr. Littleton also examines the role of social policy in mitigating or exacerbating the risk of child maltreatment. Dr. Littleton’s research is informed by 10 years of experience providing social work services to children and families within the educational, behavioral health, and child welfare systems. Her work brings a racial equity lens to policy relevant, human services research with clear and direct implications for the wellbeing of children and families.

Select Publications


  • Font, S., Kennedy, R., & Littleton, T. (2023). Child welfare systems involvement and exclusionary school discipline. Child Development.   
  • LaBrenz, C., Littleton, T., Shipe, S., Bai, R., & Stargel, L. (2023). State policies on child maltreatment and racial disproportionality. Children and Youth Services Review.   
  • LaBrenz, C., Kim, Y., Baiden, P., Shipe, S., Littleton, T., Cho, M. J., Bai, R., & Stargel, L. (2022). State child maltreatment policies and disparities in substantiation: A study of state-administered child welfare systems in the U.S. Child Maltreatment.   
  • Potter, M.H., Littleton, T., & Font, S.A. (2022). State support policies and children’s living arrangements. Child Abuse & Neglect.   
  • Lee, M., Jennings-McGarity, P., Littleton, T., & Caplan, M. (2022). The teaching of social work history and the inclusion of African American contributors: Implications for social work educators. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work.  
  • Saasa, S., Okech, D., Choi, Y.J., Nackerud, L.& Littleton, T. (2021). Social exclusion, mental health, and social well-being among African immigrants in the United States. International Social Work.
  • Bae, J., Jennings, P.F., Hardeman, C., Kim, E., Lee, M., Littleton, T., & Saasa, S. (2019). Compassion satisfaction among social work practitioners: The role of work-life balance. Journal of Social Service Research
  • Campbell, R. D. & Littleton, T. (2018). Mental health counseling in the Black American church: Reflections and recommendations from counselors serving in a counseling ministry. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 21(4), 336-352.
  • Littleton, T., Choi, Y.J., & McGarity, S.V. (2020). Psychological and social correlates of HIV stigma among people living with HIV. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services, 19(1), 74-89.
  • McPherson, J., Jennings, P.F., Arnold, B., Littleton, T., & Lee, M. (2020). Creating global scholars: Experiential learning and reflection transform an international conference into a short-term study abroad. Journal of Social Work Education.
  • Mowbray, O., Jennings, P.F., Littleton, T., Grinnell-Davis, C., & O’Shields, J. (2018). Caregiver depression and trajectories of behavioral health among child welfare involved youth. Child Abuse & Neglect, 79, 445-453.
  • Saasa, S., Okech, D., Choi, Y.J., Nackerud, L.& Littleton, T. (2021). Social exclusion, mental health, and social well-being among African immigrants in the United States. International Social Work.

Book Chapters

  • Littleton, T., Lee, M., & Cornelius, L. J. (2018). Analyzing the problem: Disparities in behavioral and mental health for people of color and Latinos. In C. Moniz and S. Gorin (Eds.), Mental Health Care Policy and Practice. A Biopsychosocial Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.