Kristin Ferguson is an associate professor at the Arizona State University's School of Social Work and director of the Center for Human Capital and Youth Development. Her research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of vocational interventions for homeless and disconnected youth that integrate employment and clinical services, including supported employment and social enterprises.
She was previously the principal investigator of an international, inter-disciplinary research project that identified best practices in faith-based organizations servicing street-living children in Los Angeles, Mumbai and Nairobi. Additionally, she led a feasibility study with homeless young adults in Hollywood to evaluate the impact of participation in an income-generating cooperative on diverse health, mental health and social outcomes. From 2006-2009, she was funded to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of community-based services for vulnerable children in Nairobi, Kenya and separately, for youth victims of commercial sexual exploitation in five cities in the United States. From 2008-2009, she was the principal investigator of a study examining the migration, mental health, substance abuse and employment patterns among street youth across Los Angeles, CA; Austin, TX; St. Louis, MO; Denver, CO; and New Orleans, LA. From 2009-2011, she was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to test an employment intervention for homeless youth (ages 16-24) with mental illness. The Social Enterprise Intervention (SEI) is a vocational intervention integrated with clinical services that is designed to train homeless youth with mental illness in vocational and business skills and to support them in starting an affirmative business/social enterprise. During that period, she was also funded by Columbia University to test the feasibility of the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment with homeless youth with mental illness in two drop-in centers in Los Angeles. From 2012-2013, she was funded to adapt the IPS model with at-risk young adults with mental illness in East Harlem and to evaluate IPS participation on employment, mental health, functional, and behavioral outcomes.