Spotlight on Monica Applewhite, Ph.D.

Monica Applewhite, Ph.D.

Monica Applewhite holds a Master’s of Science in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work.  She has spent the past 22 years studying abuse and using her findings to help organizations prevent and respond to incidents and allegations of abuse.  Dr. Applewhite has conducted root-cause analysis on approximately 1800 incidents of abuse in organizations.  Root-cause analysis is a research method that allows an incident or accident to be traced back to triggers or circumstances that permitted the problem to occur – the “root cause.”  In situations of abuse or maltreatment, an organization can use root-cause analysis to identify the points at which abuse could have been prevented or detected more quickly.  Using the findings from hundreds of organizations, Dr. Applewhite has developed educational programs for children, parents, staff, and administrators, as well as recommendations for modifications to programs, policies, and facilities.  She has assisted more than 300 organizations worldwide that serve children, youths, and vulnerable adults, including extensive on-site work with boarding and day schools, residential treatment programs, foster care, adoption, child care, mentorship programs, hospitals, child protective services, religious organizations, family preservation services, kinship care, athletic and recreational programs, resident camps, day camps, waterparks, and pools.

In 2007, Dr. Applewhite began formally synthesizing her experience in organizations with an exhaustive review of the professional literature and historical documents so as to more clearly define the development of the standards of care for organizations to prevent and respond to the sexual abuse of children.  Using state and federal law from the 1930s to today, available resources at the time, indicators of general public awareness, professional journals and books, as well as the body of knowledge regarding sexual offenders, effects and dynamics of abuse, treatment outcomes and the practices of similar organizations, Dr. Applewhite is able to provide clear answers to the question of whether an organization did or did not meet the standards of care for prevention, detection, and response to abuse at the time.  Dr. Applewhite has provided opinions and reports regarding the standard of care in the civil litigation context in both a consultative and testifying capacity.

As global awareness of the need to protect children rises, Dr. Applewhite’s work has become increasingly international.  She is currently working on educational and policy development programs in Ireland, Italy, Canada, Indonesia, Central America, Poland, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and the United States.  In addition to the history of standards of care, Dr. Applewhite’s areas of expertise include screening and selection protocols, female and juvenile sexual offenders, responding to survivors of abuse, monitoring and supervision systems, internal feedback systems, policy development for the prevention of abuse, risk management procedures for those with histories of sexual offending, internal investigation protocols in organizations, and current best practices to protect the vulnerable.