Kristina Lovato

Job title: 
Assistant Professor

Dr. Kristina Lovato, PhD, MSW, joined Berkeley Social Welfare as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2022 and is also a member of the UC Berkeley Cluster on Latinxs and Democracy. Prior to joining Berkely Social Welfare she held a tenure-track faculty appointment in the School of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach (2017-2022). 

Dr. Lovato’s scholarly work focuses on enhancing Latinx child and family well-being particularly among immigrant families at risk of immigration enforcement and/or public child welfare involvement.  Her first line of inquiry employs intersectional qualitative methodological approaches to examine the impact of punitive immigration policies on Latinx immigrant  families’ who have experienced a forced family separation due to detention/deportation. Her research aims to better understand the lived experiences of Latinx communities in order to develop culturally responsive policies, systems, and services.

Dr. Lovato’s second line of research examines social and structural inequities associated with race, gender, socioeconomic status and social/structural determinants of health in the provision of services to Latinx populations. In a recent intramurally funded study, she elicited the perspectives of child welfare agency representatives nationally – both administrators and frontline staff to explore how child welfare agencies and community partner organizations experienced and adapted service provision for immigrant children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In her third line of research, she expects to lead studies aimed at enhancing civic engagement both formally and informally among Latinx and immigrant communities. She is interested in examining how we might engage Latinx populations in democratic structures where there are and have been, significant structural efforts to exclude them from participation in democracy. Dr. Lovato’s scholarly work has been published in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. She was awarded a Faculty Ethics Research Award (CSULB) and has presented at premier national social work and immigration-related conferences

As a social work educator, Dr. Lovato draws upon over 12 years of clinical experience serving diverse families as a bilingual child welfare social worker, child therapist, and school-based mental health clinician. She teaches MSW courses such as: Multi-Level Practice, Child Welfare Practice and Policy, SW Practice with Latinx Populations, Group Work, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and capstone classes. 

Dr. Lovato earned a doctorate in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), an MSW from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of California. 



  • SW 241: Multi-Level Practice


  • 2020 Ukleja Center for Ethical Leaders, Faculty Ethics Research Award, CSU Long Beach

Recent Publications

Kristina Lovato & Jesse Jeffrey Ramirez (2022) Addressing the Social Service Needs of Latinx Families Impacted by COVID-19 and Immigration-Related Stressors, Journal of Social Service Research, DOI: 10.1080/01488376.2022.2097359

Lovato, K., Finno-Velasquez, M., Sepp, S. et al. The Impact of COVID-19 and Immigration Enforcement on Service Delivery for Immigrant Origin Families Involved in the Child Welfare System. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2022).

Expanded Publications

Lovato, K., & Abrams, L.S. (Accepted-In Press, August 2022). A qualitative examination of service utilization among Latinx immigrant families following a deportation-related family separation. Child Welfare

*Lovato, K., Finno-Velasquez, M., Sepp, S., Ramirez, J., Mendoza, V., Mekonen, R.H. (2022). The impact of COVID-19 and immigration enforcement on service delivery for immigrant origin families involved in the child welfare system. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 1-14.

*Lovato, K., & Ramirez, J. (2022). Addressing the social service needs of Latinx families impacted by COVID-19 and immigration related stressors. Journal of Social Service Research, 1-15.

Nourazari, S., Lovato, K., Weng, S. (2021). Making the case for proactive strategies to alleviate homelessness: A systems approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 526;

*Ramirez, J. & Lovato, K. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on Latinx immigrant children and families: A call to action. COVID-19 and Child Welfare: Challenges and Responses CWLA (Child Welfare League of America), Pp. 35-40.

Lovato, K., Abrams, L.S. (2020). Enforced separations: A qualitative examination of how Latinx families cope with family disruption following the deportation of a parent. Families in Society, 1-17.

Lovato, K. (2019). Forced separations: A qualitative examination of how Latinx adolescents cope with parental deportation. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 42-50.

Lovato, K., Lopez, C., Karimli, L., Abrams, L. (2018). The impact of deportation related family separations on the well-being of Latinx children and youth: A review of the literature. Children and Youth and Services Review, 95, 109-116.

Lovato-Hermann, K., Dellor, E., Tam, C., Curry, S. R., & Freisthler, B. (2017). Racial disparities in service referrals for families in the child welfare system. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 11(2)1-17. doi.10.1080/15548732.2016.1251372

Enano, S., Freisthler, B., Perez-Johnson, D., Lovato-Hermann, K. (2016). Evaluating parents in partnership: A Preliminary study of a child welfare intervention designed to increase reunification. Journal of Social Service Research, 1-10. doi: 10.1080/01488376.2016.1253634

Lovato-Hermann, K. (2015). Crossing the border to find home: A Gendered perspective of the separation and reunification experiences of Mexican immigrant young adults in the U.S. Journal of International Social Work, 59, 1-15. doi: 10.1177/0020872815611197

Dellor, E., Lovato-Hermann, K, Price, J., Curry, S. Friesthler, B. (2015). Introducing technology into child welfare. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 33(4), 330-344. doi: 10.1080/15228835.2015.1107520

(*Indicates publication with a graduate student)