Faculty & Staff


Amy Vargo, PhD

Amy Vargo, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Phone: 813-974-5356
Fax: 813-974-7376
Office: MHC2420

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View 2024 Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

Child welfare systems change; identification of evidence-based and promising practices within child welfare and children’s behavioral health; the quality of services provided to children and families who have experienced trauma

Dr. Vargo is a Research Assistant Professor in USF’s Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences with over 23 years’ experience in child welfare and behavioral health service evaluation.  Dr. Vargo currently serves as Principal Investigator for the Evaluation of Implementation to Fidelity of Evidence-based Services within the Florida Department for Children and Families’ FFPSA initiative funded through the Administration for Children and Families, Principal Investigator for the Evaluation of C.A.R.E.S. Model Program, and Co-Investigator for SAMHSA Project Aware (Advance Wellness & Resilience in Education) TISS (Trauma Informed support Services in Schools) via ICF, Inc. She has previously served as Co-PI on several federal evaluations inclusive of the National Institute of Justice’s STOP Program Grantee Perspectives on Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program Implementation Evaluation, the Western and Pacific Child Welfare Technical Assistance Implementation Center (working closely with American Institutes for Research, NICWA, and Navajo Nation) and the National Child Welfare Leadership Institute Evaluation, in partnership with the University of Utah, NICWA, and American Humane.  

At a state level her past work includes serving as a Principal Investigator for Florida’s Child Welfare Pre-Service Training Evaluation, Florida’s Title IV-E Waiver Evaluation, Florida’s Child Welfare Prepaid Mental Health Plan Evaluation, and Florida’s Child Welfare Privatization Evaluation. Dr. Vargo also served as Co-PI to the state of Utah’s Title IV-E Waiver process evaluation.  

Dr. Vargo’s research and scholarship have focused on improving care for vulnerable populations, specifically children who enter the child welfare system and their families.  Research areas she has focused on include child welfare systems change, implementation science, the resiliency of children in the child welfare system, and the quality of evidence-based practices provided to children and families who have experienced trauma.  As an anthropologist, Dr. Vargo has worked with different tribal and ethnically diverse populations nationally and within Florida, as well as having extensive experience leading multi-researcher teams conducting mixed-method and participatory research.