Dr. Kelley has spent the majority of her career researching various aspects of child maltreatment, including multigenerational families where grandparents are raising grandchildren. She is the founder and director of Project Healthy Grandparents at Georgia State University, a research/community service program that aids grandparents raising grandchildren in parent-absent homes. To date, Project Healthy Grandparents has served over 3000 individuals, including 2000 children. The program has also secured over 5.5 million dollars if federal, state, and private funding.
From 1999 to 2011 Dr. Kelley served as Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia State University.