Barbara Rittner

Associate Professor

"It’s about the welfare of children, not just about the system that delivers child welfare services, and understanding how childhood trauma is different than adult trauma. My passion is to get people to question authority, question assumptions and create literature that informs the role of advocate. That’s critical to being a good social worker."

Contact Information

575 Baldy Hall
Amherst, NY 14260
Phone: 716-645-1256
Fax: 716-645-3456

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Contact Information

575 Baldy Hall, Amherst, NY 14260 (view map)
Phone: 716-645-1256; Fax: 716-645-3456


  • PhD, Social Work, Barry University (1992)
  • MSW, Master of Social Work, Barry University (1989)
  • BA, University of Connecticut (1967)

Professional/Research Interests

Child welfare; interventions; group work


Barbara Rittner was a direct practice social worker and administrator in economic services and child welfare as part of the State Welfare system in Miami, Fla. She earned a BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Connecticut and an MSW and PhD from Barry University in Miami, Fla. 

After completing her PhD, she joined the faculty at the University of Nevada-Reno (1992-1993). She also taught at the University of Georgia (1996-1999). Rittner joined the faculty at the University at Buffalo after leaving Nevada (1993-1996) and returned to UB in 1999.   

She publishes on factors associated with founded abuse in families with children under CPS supervision, kinship and non-kinships placement patterns of children in foster care, factors associated with the functional adaptation of foster youth to foster homes and factors associated with disengagement of children from finalized adoptions back into the foster care system.  

Rittner chaired the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE), Social Work Leadership Forum (CSWE). She has been a CSWE Board of Directors member and is on the Commission on Research. She co-authored the CSWE position paper on advanced practice DSW programs.

She teaches an online course on Psychopathology.