Erik Wittrup

Erik Wittrup earned his bachelor degree in Sociology from Oakland University and obtained his MSW from Western Michigan University. Erik is a two-time recipient of the Nita Lou Walbridge Scholarship, which is awarded for exemplary work in the field of social work. Erik has a passion for working in child welfare and addressing the trauma experienced by families, communities and service providers.

Before entering the PhD program, Erik served for over 5 years as a Children Protective Services Specialist for the State of Michigan, investigating abuse and neglect of children and providing services to families. He additionally worked on several grassroots projects at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Most notable projects include the child trauma case management project and his co-facilitation of psychological first aid debriefings to DHHS staff following traumatic incidents.

After enrolling into the PhD program at MSU, Erik began working as a research assistant with Dr. Anna Maria Santiago researching Housing Tenure and Children’s Life Chances. Dr. Santiago is also supporting Erik continues to research child welfare, childhood trauma, secondary trauma and resiliency building. Dr. Santiago has been supporting his research into the perceptions of family dependency treatment court (FDTC) participants. With the high number of foster care cases involving parental substance abuse, this research aims to explore the influence of FDTC’s on long term sobriety and child maltreatment.


Child welfare; Childhood trauma; Secondary trauma; Resiliency Building