Yixia Cai is a doctoral student in social welfare with a minor in public affairs at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a graduate research fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP). Ms. Cai works as a project assistant at the IRP where she is mainly responsible for manipulating and analyzing administrative data for a randomized controlled trial, a multi-site community intervention to prevent child maltreatment in the state of Wisconsin. In this role, she also contributed to writing reports for the state Department of Children and Families and the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board. Ms. Cai previously worked as a research assistant at the Columbia Population Research Center on the Poverty Tracker Project. She was also a member of a joint research team between the UNICEF and the LIS Cross-National Data Center related to child poverty and social protection in middle-income countries.
Ms. Cai’s research centers on the intersection of poverty, social policy, and family well-being. Specifically, her current research examines how economic instability impacts families with children and their likelihood of involvement with child protective services. Another line of her research investigates the anti-poverty effects of safety net programs and their relationship with low-income families’ life circumstances, both in the United States and abroad. Ms. Cai has experience working with low-income families with children as well as community organizing and planning practice. She holds an MSW from Columbia University and an MSc in urban studies from University College London.