Mónica Ruiz-Casares, Associate Member (Associate Professor in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry)

Mónica Ruiz-Casares is an Associate Professor in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill. She obtained her Ph.D. in Policy Analysis and Management/Human Services Studies from Cornell University. She also holds a Law degree from Universidad Pontificia Comillas-ICADE (Spain), a M.A. in International Development/Education from The George Washington University, and a M.Sc. in Program Planning and Evaluation from Cornell. Dr. Ruiz-Casares’s main areas of expertise cover the wellbeing and protection of orphan, separated, and unsupervised children across cultures; children’s rights and participation; and social policy and program evaluation. Dr. Ruiz-Casares has conducted evaluations for government and non-profit agencies such as the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Save the Children, and Youth Service America. She has worked with vulnerable populations internationally including orphans and abandoned children, people affected by HIV/AIDS, victims of domestic violence, and illiterate farmers. Her dissertation was the first study to focus on child-headed households and to assess child depression in Namibia.


Her current research explores the determinants and consequences of leaving children home alone cross-nationally, inadequate supervision in the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, ways to support parents for the promotion of adolescent mental health, and undocumented migrant children’s rights and access to services. She is also interested in the social integration of orphan and separated children in contexts of crisis. Her research privileges the voices of children and youth, and is inspired by action research principles.


Ruiz-Casares, M. et Barazangi, Nimat H. (comp.) 2002. Feminisms and Action Research. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Participatory Action Research Network (CPARN).

Alvarez, B., et Ruiz-Casares, M. (Eds.) 1998. Evaluation and Education Reform: Policy options. Washington, DC: USAID/ABEL2/AED (also available in Spanish).

Álvarez, B., et Ruiz-Casares, M. (Eds.) 1997. Paths of Change. Washington, DC: USAID/ABEL2/AED (also available in Spanish).

Heidenreich, F., Ruiz-Casares, M, & Rousseau, C. 2009. The Psychosocial Consequences of Organized Violence on Children. In The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic, edited by Ruth Lanius, Eric Vermetten and Clare Pain. Cambridge University Press.

Paccione, L., Measham, T., Kronick, R., Meloni, F., Ricard-Guay, A., Rousseau, C., and Ruiz-Casares, M. (2012). The Mental Health of Children Facing Collective Adversity. Poverty, homelessness, war, displacement. In Rey JM (ed), IACAPAP e-Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Geneva: International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Guzder, Rousseau, C., and J. Kirmayer, L. (2013). Resilience, Culture, Child Mental Health and Wellbeing. In Handbook of Child Well-Being, edited by Asher Ben-Arieh, Ivar Frones, Ferran Casas, and Jill E. Korbin. Springer.

Ruiz-Casares, M. (2013). Finding the balance between protection and participation: What do you do when follow services are not readily available? In Graham, A., Powell, M., Taylor, N., Anderson, D. & Fitzgerald, R. Ethical Research Involving Children. Florence: UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti.

Ruiz-Casares, M. (2012) Undocumented. In Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health, edited by Sana Loue and Martha Sajatovic. Springer Science+Business

Ruiz-Casares, M. (2011). Building Trust, Enhancing Research: Carrying Out Fieldwork in Namibia. In Conducting Research Abroad: Positionality, Methodology, & Practice,  edited by Lise-Hélène V. Trouilloud and Anjara Narayan. Lexington, MA: Lexington Press.

Ruiz-Casares, M. (in press). Impact of HIV/AIDS policies on women in Namibia. In  HIV/AIDS and Women In Namibia: Policy Responses edited by A. Parrot and J. Allen. New York: Routledge.

Ruiz-Casares, M. (2013) Knowledge without harm?: When follow-up support is not readily available . In Negotiating ethical challenges in youth research, edited by Kitty te Riele & Rachel Brooks. New York : Routledge Press, pp. 84-95.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2008. Namibia. In The Encyclopedia of Africa and the Americas, edited by Richard M. Juang and Noelle Morrissette. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, pp. 799-802.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2007. How did I become the parent? Gendered Responses to New Responsibilities Among Namibian Child Headed-Households. In Unraveling Taboos: Last revision November 2013

Mónica Ruiz-Casares 4 Gender and Sexuality in Namibia, edited by Dianne Hubbard and Suzanne LaFont. Windhoek, Namibia: Legal Assistance Centre, pp.18-166.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2007. Namibia. In Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, edited by Tim Gall and Susan Gall. Cleveland, OH: Thomson Gale.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2005. Meeting Their Own Needs: A Study of Child-Headed Households in Namibia. In 3rd National Conference on Orphans and Vulnerable Children: “Are We Meeting the Needs of Our OVC?” Full Report. Windhoek, Namibia: Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 1997. Reforma Educativa en España. In Senderos de Cambio, edited by Álvarez, B., and Ruiz-Casares, M. Washington, DC: USAID/ABEL2/AED (also available in English).

Cleveland, J. & Ruiz-Casares, M. (2013). Clinical assessment of asylum seekers: balancing human rights protection, patient well-being, and professional integrity. The American Journal of Bioethics, 13(7): 13–15.

Drummond, J.D., Beeman, I., Lach, L., and Ruiz-Casares, M. Promoting the mental health of ethnoculturally diverse adolescents: A review of the literature. (submitted)

Ruiz-Casares, M. and Thompson, J. Obtaining Meaningful Informed Consent: Preliminary Results of a Study to Develop Visual Consent Forms With Children. (submitted)

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2009. Between Adversity and Agency: Child and Youth-Headed Households in Namibia. Vulnerable Children & Youth Studies, 4 (3), 238-248.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2009. Unintentional Childhood Injuries in Sub-Saharan Africa: an Overview of Risk & Protective Factors. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 20,  51-67.

Ruiz-Casares, M. and Heymann, J. 2009. Children Home Alone Unsupervised: Modeling Parental Decisions and Associated Factors in Botswana, Mexico, and Vietnam. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 312-323.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Thombs, B., and Rousseau, C. 2009. The Association of Single and Double Orphanhood with Symptoms of Depression Among Children and Adolescents in Namibia. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 18(6), 369-376.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2010. The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2008: How child-friendly are African governments? African Affairs, 109(434), 163-164.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2010. Kin and Youths in the Social Networks of Youth-Headed Households in Namibia. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(5), 1408-1425.

Ruiz-Casares, M. & Rousseau, C. 2010. Between Freedom and Fear: Children’s Views on  ome Alone. The British Journal of Social Work, 40(8), 2560-2577.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Rousseau, C., Derluyn, I., Watters, C., and Crépeau, F. 2010. Right and Access to Health Care for Undocumented Children: Addressing the Gap Between International Conventions and Disparate Implementations in North America and Europe. Social Science & Medicine, 70, 329–336.

Ruiz-Casares, M. (2012). “When it’s just me at home, it hits me that i’m COMPLETELY ALONE”: An online survey of adolescents in self-care. Journal of Psychology: Last revision November 2013 Mónica Ruiz-Casares 5 Interdisciplinary and Applied, 146(1–2), 135–153 (Loneliness Special Issue).

Ruiz-Casares, M., Rousseau, C., Currie, J., & Heymann, J. (2012) “I hold on to my teddy bear really tight”: Results from a Child Online Survey on Being Home Alone. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(1), 97–103.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Rousseau, C., Laurin-Lamothe, A., Rummens, J.A., Zelkowitz, P., Crépeau, F., and Steinmetz, N. (2013) Access to Health Care for Undocumented Migrant Children and Pregnant Women: The Paradox Between Values and Attitudes of Health Care Professionals. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17(2):292-8. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-0973-3.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Trocmé, N., & Fallon, B. (2012) Supervisory Neglect and Risk of Harm: Evidence from the Canadian Child Welfare system. Child Abuse & Neglect.36, 471- 480.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Rousseau, D., Morlu, J., and Browne, C. (2013). Eliciting Children’s Perspectives of Risk and Protection: How To Do It and Why Does It Matter. Child and Youth Care Forum, 42, 425–437. DOI 10.1007/s10566-013-9208-z.

Ruiz-Casares, M. (in press). Global Mental Health: Advancing Culturally Responsive Mental Health Research. Transcultural Psychiatry.
Vanthuyne, K., Meloni, F., Ruiz-Casares, M., Ricard-Guay, A., and Rousseau, C. (2013) Health workers perceptions of access to care for children and pregnant women with precarious immigration status: Health as a right or a privilege? Social Science & Medicine.
Research and Evaluation Reports

Allen, J.A., Cihlar, C., and Ruiz-Casares, M. 2001. Family Resolutions Project Evaluation 1998-2000. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Cooperative Extension. [authors listed in alphabetical order] Équipe de recherche et intervention transculturelles. 2012. Rapport de recherche. L’accès aux
soins de santé pour les enfants et femmes enceintes à statut migratoire précaire. Montreal, QC : Centre de Services Sociaux et de Santé de la Montagne.

Fine, A. and Ruiz-Casares, M. 1997. The Prudential Youth Leadership Institute: Final Evaluation Report. Washington, DC: Innovation Network, Inc.

Fine, A. and Ruiz-Casares, M. 1996. The Family Place: Final Evaluation Report.  Washington, DC: Innovation Network, Inc.

Fine, A. and Ruiz-Casares, M. 1996. The Family Place: Interim Evaluation Report. Washington, DC: Innovation Network, Inc.


Ruiz-Casares, M. (2013). Alternative Care in Laos: An Exploratory Study With Children and Caregivers. Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.: Save the Children, McGill University/CSSS de la Montagne, and National University of Laos Ruiz-Casares, M. (2013). Some Thoughts Concerning Shaking the Movers V and Articles 37 Last revision November 2013

Mónica Ruiz-Casares 6 and 40 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In CRAN 4th Annual Meeting [Report]. Ottawa, ON : Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2011. Child Protection Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices in Central and  Western Liberia. [Final Report]. Monrovia, Liberia : Save the Children and USAID.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Lach, L., Rousseau, C., Sullivan, R., Drummond, J., and Beeman, I., 2011. Parenting for the promotion of adolescent mental health : Review of the literature. Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Lach, L., Rousseau, C., Sullivan, Drummond, J., and Kolyn, L. 2012. Parenting for the promotion of adolescent mental health : Environmental Scan. Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Ruiz-Casares, M., Lach, L., Rousseau, C., Sullivan, and Drummond, J. 2012. Parenting for  the promotion of adolescent mental health : [Parental Mental Health Education, Information, and Support] Framework. Mental Health Commission of Canada. Bibliographies and other publications

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2010. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: What is in there for us? OYO, 9(1), 2. Windhoek, Namibia: Ombetja Yehinga

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2010. Accès aux Soins Pour Enfants et Femmes Enceintes Sans Papiers. Le Fil Conducteur. Montreal, QC: CSSS de la Montagne.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2008. Annotated Bibliography: Forced Labor in Paraguay. Calverton, MD: Macro International (for the US Department of Labor).

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2008. Annotated Bibliography: Child Labor in Paraguay. Calverton, MD: Macro International (for the US Department of Labor).

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2007. Annotated Bibliography: Forced Labor in Burundi. Calverton, MD: Macro International (for the US Department of Labor).

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2006. Strengthening the Capacity of Child-Headed Households to meet Their Own Needs : A Social Networks Approach. Doctoral dissertation. Ithaca, NY : Cornell University.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2005. Youth Suicide, OYO, 4(5), 8. Windhoek, Namibia: Ombetja Yehinga.

Ruiz-Casares, M. 2003. Masturbation and Law: Private Behavior or Public Order?  Windhoek, Namibia: Ombeya Yehinga
Media In Africa, Children as Young as 9 Are Heading Households and Turning to Other Children for Help, Study Finds, Cornell Chronicle (by Susan S. Lang), 14 November 2005. [Online] Interview 21 November 2005 with Joe De Capua in Voice of America: AIDS Forces
Namibian Children to Become Heads of Families. [On-line]