The Catholic University of America


Sandra Barrueco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology

Director of Clinical Training

Director, Latin American and Latino Studies


330 O'Boyle

(202) 319-5758


My research program utilizes a prevention science framework to examine and address developmental and mental health difficulties among young language-minority, immigrant, and migrant children. Contributing to empirical and clinical advancements in this area are three interrelated investigative foci: 1) methodological improvements in the assessment and early identification of young bilingual children, 2) expansion of the theoretical and research bases pertaining to developmental and clinical processes within young Latino children and their families, and 3) creation and examination of multisystemic preventive interventions fostering linguistic and socioemotional functioning.  For example, I am currently co-leading a national study of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start with over 1000 infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their agricultural families. My studies are fiscally supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, foundations, and other entities. 


At CUA, I am a faculty member of the Children, Families, and Cultures concentration within the Clinical Psychology program. I also serve as Director of Latin American and Latino Studies ( and a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies. Further, I am engaged in the local and national communities, as reflected by my past engagement in DC Bilingual Charter School and the Advisory Committee of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Immigration. Present activities include the federal Expert Panel on Research Methods with Young Dual Language Learners, and the Policy and Communications Committee of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD).


In terms of my background and training, I am a licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland and DC, beginning my career as a preschool teacher assistant. I obtained my doctorate at the University of Denver in child clinical psychology with an emphasis in cognitive neuroscience and an internship at Children’s National Medical Center in clinical child and pediatric psychology. I subsequently focused on the early childhood identification and prevention of developmental and mental health difficulties as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute. I also completed a research postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where I designed and conducted prevention and intervention science investigations.  Most recently, I participated in a faculty fellowship in the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education at the University of Virginia. Throughout my training and career, I have been dedicated to learning and utilizing advanced statistics, including latent variable and multilevel level modeling, to advance scientific knowledge and practice with young immigrant children and families. This approach is rooted in a community-based participatory research framework involving strong collaborations with families and the local and national programs that serve them.


**Note to applicants to the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program: I am accepting students for the coming academic year. The clinical faculty looks forward to reviewing your application!**







Ph.D., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Denver (2003)

M.A., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Denver (1998) 

B.A., magna cum laude, Psychology & Economics, Amherst College (1996)



Selected Publications




Barrueco, S., López, M. L., Ong, C. A., & Lozano, P. (2012). Assessing Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers: A guide to best measures and approaches.  Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.


Articles, Chapters, and Reports

Barrueco, S., Wall, S., Mayer, L. M., & Blinka, M. (in press). Addressing the needs of young children and families: Early childhood education and services in Catholic schools and Catholic Charities. Journal of Catholic Education.

Barrueco, S. & Davis, A. E. (PhD student)  (2016). Early childhood research with Puerto Rican children, families, and programs. In C. R. Nazario (Ed.), Puerto Rican children and families: Our starting point (pp. 93-154). San Juan, PR: Inter American University of Puerto Rico. 

Barrueco, S., Davis, A. E. (PhD student), & Agosto, J. (MA student) (2016). Annotated bibliography on early childhood research with Puerto Rican children, families, and programs  (pp. 95-466). Puerto Rican children and families: Our starting point. San Juan, PR: Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

Kohrt, B.K.(PhD student), Barrueco, S., & Pérez, C. (PhD student) (2015). Domestic violence as a threat to maternal and child well-being in Peruvian urban migrant communities. Special Issue on Women’s Health.  Pan American Journal of Public Health, 37, 265-272.

Barrueco, S., Smith, S., & Stephens, S. (2015).  Supporting parent engagement in linguistically diverse families to promote young children’s learning: Implications for Early Care and Education Policy.   Administration for Children and Families, DHHS, Washington, DC. 

Barrueco, S. & Fernández, G.(PhD student) (2015). Multilingualism in early childhood: The development, assessment, and intervention of comprehension abilities. In A. DeBruin-Parecki & S. Gear (Eds., pp. 133- 149), Pre-Reader Comprehension: One of the Essential Building Blocks to Becoming a Successful   Reader. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Achilles, G. A., Barrueco, S., & Bottoms, B. L. (2013).  The evolving legacy of the American Psychological Association’s Division 37: Bridging research, practice, and policy to benefit children and families. In A. M. Culp (Ed.), Handbook of child and family advocacy: Issues in clinical child psychology.  New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Barrueco, S. (2012). Assessing young bilingual children with special needs. In S. M. Benner, Assessment of young children with special needs: A context-based approach (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Barrueco, S. & Twohy, E. (2012). Strengthening and unifying Latino and African-American families: Community psychology in Washington, D.C. In E. S. Pumar (Ed.), The Hispanic presence in the Washington DC metropolitan region (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations).  Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishers.

Barrueco, S. (2012). Improving the linguistic, literacy, and socioemotional development of young children in migrant and seasonal farm worker families. In B. Wasik & B. Van Horn (Eds.), Handbook of family literacy. New York, NY: Routledge.

O’Brien, R., Barrueco, S., López, M. L., & D’Elio, M.A. (2011). Design of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Survey. Department of Health and Human Services: Washington, D.C.

Valdez, C. R., Mills, C. L., Barrueco, S., & Riley, A. W. (2011).  A pilot study of a family-focused intervention for children and families affected by maternal depression. Journal of Family Therapy, 33, 3-19.

Barrueco, S. & O’Brien, R. (2011).  Latino agricultural families and their young children: Advancing theoretical and empirical conceptualizations. In J. Kromkowski (Ed.), Annual editions: Race and ethnic Relations (pp. 168-175). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. 

Riley, A. W., Valdez, C.R., Barrueco, S., Mills, C.L., Beardslee, W., Sandler, I., & Rawal, P. (2008).  Development of a family-based program to reduce risk and promote resilience among families affected by maternal depression:  Theoretical basis and program description.  Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 11, 12-29.

López, M. L. & Barrueco, S. (2008).  In search of meaning: Disentangling the complex influences on children’s school readiness. In A. Booth & A. C. Crouter (Eds.), Early disparities in school readiness: How do families contribute to successful and unsuccessful transitions into school (pp. 31-48). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Barrueco, S., López, M.L. & Miles, J.C. (2007).  Parenting behaviors in the first year of life: A national examination of Latinos and other cultural groups. Latinos and Education, 6, 253-265.


Stein, M. A., Barrueco, S. & Halperin, J. M. (2003).  Psychological and neuropsychological testing. In J. M. Wiener & M. K. Dulcan (Eds.). Textbook of child and adolescent psychiatry (pp. 165-182). London, England: American Psychiatric Publishing.



Clinical Assessment II: Intelligence Testing (graduate)

Community Interventions in Mental Health (undergraduate)

Cultural Issues in Clinical Psychology (graduate)

Early Childhood Development (undergraduate)

Lifespan Development (undergraduate)

Practicum in Individual Psychotherapy (graduate)

Research Methods in Psychology (graduate)