Julia Henly, a female-presenting person, smiles towards the camera in a library.

Julia R Henly, PhD

Samuel Deutsch Professor; Deputy Dean for Research and Faculty Development; Co-Director, Employment Instability, Family Well-being, and Social Policy Network

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Office Location: E-16; WSSC 255

Areas of Expertise
Child Care
Early Education
Employment Instability
Low-income Families
Poverty and Welfare Policy
Work and Family Policies
UChicago Affiliations
Center for Human Potential and Public Policy

Julia Henly is Professor and Deputy Dean for Faculty Development and Research in the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Henly’s scholarship aims to advance understanding of the economic and caregiving strategies of low-income families to inform the design and effectiveness of work-family policies and public benefits, especially child care policy. Her ongoing projects are funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and WorkRise. Across these projects, she and colleagues investigate equity in child care subsidy access and the effects of recent child care subsidy policy changes on program demographics and participation duration; the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on centers and home-based child care programs; child care financing mechanisms and their relationship to equitable access; and the prevalence and consequences of precarious work schedules on workers and their children. Henly’s research includes experimental, quasi-experimental and participatory methods including collaboration with state and local government agencies and community organizations. Her studies involve the analysis of administrative, survey and qualitative interview data. 

Henly is a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and the Society for Social Work and Research. She has served as a Fellow in the Interdisciplinary Research Leadership program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2016-2018) and as a Distinguished Fellow of the William T. Grant Foundation (2016-2017). Henly received her B.A. with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.S.W. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her scholarship is published in peer-reviewed journals such as Social Service Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Social Work Research, Children and Youth Services Review, and Journal of Urban Affairs, and also appears in numerous edited-book volumes, policy briefs and reports.

Professor Julia R. Henly awarded for Educational Leadership by GADE
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Why Subsidized Child Care is Vital
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Henly Honored with First Annual Mentoring Award
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Professors Yoonsun Choi and Waldo E. Johnson, Jr. are inducted as 2023 fellows by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW)
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Social Inequalities and Urban Family Life
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Learning About a Social Service Agency from the Inside
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University and Chapin Hall Announce 2017-18 Joint Research Fund Awards
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University and Chapin Hall Announce 2017-18 Joint Research Fund Awards
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New research examines how many low-wage workers struggle to get benefits
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Behind the Numbers: Protecting Policy Gains
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Professors Susan J. Lambert and Julia Henly awarded a WorkRise grant
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Full-day pre-k matters for young learners’ attendance
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See all news articles about Samuel Deutsch Professor; Deputy Dean for Research and Faculty Development; Co-Director, Employment Instability, Family Well-being, and Social Policy Network Julia R Henly
Julia R. Henly comments on how there is a lack of research to back up that people using public benefits is reducing their work effort
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Chapin Hall And SSA Researchers Explore How Latino Families Make Child Care Decisions
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Faculty Award for Educational Leadership in Doctoral Education
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William Pollak Award for Excellence in Teaching
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Award For Excellence in Doctoral Student Mentoring at Crown Family School
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  • Pilarz, A.R., Sandstrom, H., Henly, J.R. (2022). Understanding Child Care Instability Among Low-Income, Subsidized Families. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.

  • Henly, J.R., Lambert, S.J., & Dresser, L.J. (2021). The New Realities of Working-Class Jobs Since the Great Recession: Innovations in Employment Regulation, Social Policy, and Worker Organization.  What has happened to the American Working Class since the Great Recession? (2009-2019). ANNALS of The American Academy of Political and Social Science.

  • Kim, J., & Henly, J. R. (2021). Dynamics of child care subsidy use and material hardship. Children and Youth Services Review. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from 

  • Adams, G. & Henly, J. R. (2020) “Child Care Subsidies: Supporting Work And Child Development For Healthy Families, " Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, April 12, 2020.DOI: 10.1377/hpb20200327.116465
  • Henly, J.R. (2020). Centrality of employment policies for individual and community health. American Journal of Public Health, 110(4), 433-435.

  • Hong, Y.S. & Henly, J.R. (2020). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and School Readiness Skills. Children and Youth Services Review, 114, early access available online

  • Lambert, S.J., Henly, J.R., Fugiel, P., Choper, J. (Revise and Resubmit). The magnitude and meaning of work hour volatility among early-career employees in the US. Monthly Labor Review.

  • Kim, J.S., Henly, J.R., Golden, L., & Lambert, S. (2019). Workplace Flexibility and Worker Wellbeing by Gender. Journal of Marriage and Family. Online available Dec. 2019: DOI:10.1111jomf.12633.

  • Lambert, S.J., Henly, J.R., & Kim, J. (2019). Precarious work schedules as a source of economic insecurity and institutional distrust. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 5(4): 218-57.

  • Lambert, S.J., Henly, J.R., Schoeny, M., & Jarpe, M. (2019). Increasing Schedule Predictability in Hourly Jobs: Results from a Randomized Experiment in a US Retail Firm. Work and Occupations, 46(2):176-226.

  • McCrate, E., Lambert, S.J., & Henly, J.R. (2019). Competing for hours: Unstable work schedules and underemployment among hourly workers in Canada. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 43(5), 1287–1314.

  • Barnes, C. & Henly, J.R. (2018). They are underpaid and understaffed”: How clients interpret encounters with street-level bureaucrats. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 28(2): 165-181.
  • Reza, H. & Henly, J.R. (2018). Health crises, social support, and caregiving practices among street children in Bangladesh. Children and Youth Services Review, 88: 229-240.
  • Henly, J.R., Lein, L., Romich, J., Shanks, T., Sherraden, M., Tillotson, A., & Jones, R. (2018). Grand Challenge # 10: Reduce extreme economic inequality. Chapter 11 in Rowena Fong, James Lubben, & Richard P. Barth, (Eds.) Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society. Oxford University Press.
  • Henly, J.R., Kim, J., Sandstrom, H., Pilarz, A., & Claessens, A. (2017). What Explains Short Spells on Child Care Subsidies? Social Service Review, 91(3): 488-533.
  • Henly, J.R., Sandstrom, H., & Pilarz, A (2017). Child care assistance as work-family support: Meeting the economic and caregiving needs of low-income working families in the US. Chapter 11 in M. las Heras, N. Chinchilla, & M. Grau (Eds.), Work-Family Balance in Light of Globalization and Technology, pps 241-262.  Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Stanczyk, A.B., Henly, J.R., Lambert, S. (2016).  Enough time for housework?: Low-wage work and desired housework time adjustments. Journal of Marriage and Family. 79 (February 2017): 243–260 DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12344 
  • Frank-Miller, E. G., Lambert, S.J., & Henly, J.R. (2015). Age, wage, and job placement: Older women’s experiences entering the retail sector. Journal of Women and Aging. 27(2), 157-173.
  • Henly, J.R. & Lambert, S. (2014). Unpredictable work timing in retail jobs: Implications for employee work-life outcomes. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 67(3), 986-1016.
  • Henly, J.R. (2013).  Theoretical Perspectives on the Exosystem:  The Accommodation Model, Chapter 5 in Weiss, H.B., Kreider, H., Lopez, M.E., & Chatman-Nelson, C.M. (Eds). Preparing Educators to Engage Families (3rd Edition), pps. 70-75. Sage Publications. 
  • Golden, L., Henly, J.R., & Lambert, S. (2013). Work Schedule Flexibility: A Contributor to Happiness? Journal of Social Research and Policy, 4(2), 107-135.
  • Lambert, S.J. & Henly, J. R. (2013). Double jeopardy: The misfit between welfare-to-work requirements and job realities.  In Evelyn Brodkin and Gregory Marston, eds., Work and the Welfare State: The Politics and Management of Policy Change, pps. 69 – 84. Washington, DC:  Georgetown University Press.
  • Thullen, M., Henly, J.R., Hans, S. (2012). Domain-specific trajectories of father involvement among low-income, young, African-American mothers. Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research, 3(3), 129-144.
  • Lambert, S.J., Haley-Lock, A., & Henly, J.R.  (2012). Schedule flexibility in hourly jobs: unanticipated consequences and promising directions. Community, Work & Family, 15(3), 293-315.
  • Lambert, S.J & Henly, J.R. (2012). Frontline managers matter: Labour flexibility practices and sustained employment in hourly retail jobs in the U.S. In Chris Warhurst, Francoise Carré, Patricia Findlay, and Chris Tilly, eds., Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? Trends, Determinants and Responses to Job Quality in the Twenty-First Century. England: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 143-159
  • Golden, L., Wiens-Tuers, B., Lambert, S., & Henly, J.R. (2011). Working time in the employment relationship: Working time, perceived control and work-life balance. In K. Townsend & A. Wilkinson (eds.), Research Handbook on the Future of Work and Employment Relations (pp. 188-211). Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Bromer, J., Paulsell, D., Porter, T., Henly, J.R, Ramsburg, D., Weber, R., & Families and Quality Workgroup Members (2010).  Family-sensitive caregiving: A key component of quality in early care and education arrangements. In M. Zaslow, I. Martinez-Beck, K. Tout, & T. Halle (Eds.), Quality Measurement in Early Childhood Settings, pps. 161-190. Brooks. 
  • Bromer, J. & Henly, J.R. (2009).  The work-family support roles of child care providers across settings.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 24(3), 271-288.
  • Campbell, E., Henly, J.R., Elliott, D., Irwin, K. (2009). Subjective constructions of neighborhood boundaries. Journal of Urban Affairs, 31(4), 461-490.
  • Lambert, S. & Henly, J.R. (2007). Lower-level jobs and work-family studies. In Work family encyclopedia, eds. P. Raskin & M. Pitt Catsouphes. Sloan Work-FamilyResearch Network, Boston College.
  • Henly, J. R., Shaefer, H.L., & Waxman, R.E. (2006). Nonstandard work schedules: Employer- and employee-driven flexibility in retail jobs. Social Service Review, 80, 609–634.
  • Henly, J.R., Danziger, S.K., & Offer, S. (2005). The contribution of social support to the material well-being of low-income families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 122-140. (Awarded the 2007 Excellence in Research Award, Society of Social Work and Research.)
  • Henly, J.R. & Lambert, S. (2005). Nonstandard work and child-care needs of low-income parents. Chapter 30 in Bianchi, S.M., Casper, L.M., & King, R.B. (Eds.), Work, Family, Health, and Well-Being, 473-492. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
  • Lyons, S., Henly, J.R., & Schuerman, J. (2005). Informal support in maltreating families: Its effect on parenting practices. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(1), 21-38.
  • Bromer, J. & Henly, J.R. (2004). Child care as family support: Caregiving practices across child care providers. Children and Youth Services Review, 26(10), 941-964.
  • Henly, J.R. (2002). Informal support networks and the maintenance of low-wage jobs.  In Munger, F. (Ed.), Laboring Below the Line: The New Ethnography of Poverty, Low-Wage Work, and Survival in the Global Economy, 179-203. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Danziger, S.K., Carlson, M., & Henly, J.R. (2001). Post-welfare employment and psychological well-being. Women and Health, 32(1/2),47-78.
  • Henly, J.R. & Lyons, S. (2000). The negotiation of child care and employment demands among low-income parents. Journal of Social Issues, 56(4), 683-706.
  • Henly, J.R. (2000). Mismatch in the low-wage labor market: Job search perspective. In Kaye, K. & Nightingale, D.S. (Eds.), The Low-Wage Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic Self-Sufficiency, 145-167. Washington: Urban Institute Press.
  • Henly, J.R. (1999). Barriers to finding and maintaining jobs: The perspectives of workers and employers in the low-wage labor market. In Handler, J.F. & White, L. (Eds.), Hard Labor: Women and Work in the Post-Welfare Era, 48-75. New York: ME Sharpe, Inc.
  • Henly, J.R. (1999). Comments to G. Duncan & G. Caspary, Welfare dynamics and welfare reform, in Joseph, L.B. (Ed.), Families, Poverty, and Welfare Reform: Confronting a New Policy Era, 169-73. Chicago: Center for Urban Research and Policy Studies, Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago. Distributed by University of Illinois Press. 
  • Henly, J.R. (1997). The complexity of support:  The impact of family structure and provisional support on African American and white adolescent mothers’ well-being. American Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5), 629-655.
  • Lindsey, D. & Henly, J.R. (1997). The future of child welfare.  In Reisch, M. & Gambrill, E. (Eds.), Social Work in the 21st Century, 100-118. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
  • Henly, J.R. & Danziger, S.K. (1996). Confronting welfare stereotypes: Characteristics of general assistance recipients and postassistance employment. Social Work Research, 20(4),217-227. Reprinted in 1997 in Ewait, P.L., Freeman, E.M., Kirk, S.A., & Poole, D. L. (Eds.), Social Policy:  Reform, Research, and Practice, 124-139. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
  • Wittenbrink, B. & Henly, J.R. (1996). Creating social reality:  Informational social influence and the content of stereotypic beliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(6),598-610.
  • Henly, J.R. (1995). Comparative research on adolescent childbearing:  Understanding race differences.  African American Research Perspectives, 2(1), 70-81, Spring.
  • Henly, J.R. (1993). The significance of social context:  The case of adolescent parenting in the African American community.  Journal of Black Psychology, 19(4), 461-477.

Julia Henly is a Professor in the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, where she is the Deputy Dean for Research and Faculty Development and the co-director of the Employment Instability, Family Well-being, and Social Policy Network (EINet). Henly is a 2018 Society for Social Work and Research Fellow, a 2016 Interdisciplinary Research Leadership Program Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a 2016 Distinguished Fellow of the William T. Grant Foundation. She is also a longstanding member of the steering committee of the US/DHHS Administration for Children and Families' Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium.  

Professor Henly received her B.A. in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.S.W. (Policy and Planning) and Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Psychology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Chicago, she was Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy and Social Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.