New Child Welfare Specialization Available for Social Work Students at Penn

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | | 215-898-4820March 17, 2014

The School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania has announced a new child welfare specialization within its master’s of social work program.

The Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization teaches students to provide culturally competent social work services resulting in positive outcomes for children and families while ensuring safety.

“A quality workforce is one of the most important factors in ensuring child safety and well-being,” said Richard J. Gelles, dean of the School. “The new child welfare concentration is a step toward assuring that the professionals who provide services to families and children are educated and up-to-date on policy and practice.”

Designed to integrate clinical and macro social work practices across the field of child welfare, including child protective services, in-home services, foster care, school adjustment and social issues, the specialization guides students to integrate evidence-based practice and management strategies to successfully work with children and youth in a variety of situations.

Social work students in this specialization gain a broad understanding of practice methods, services and policies that are intended to protect children and preserve families.

“Students enrolled in this program will have an enriching experience and cutting-edge knowledge. They’ll also build connections within the field and with those who influence law, public health and other areas,” said Joretha Bourjolly, the associate dean for academic affairs and director of the master’s of social work program.

As a part of their required field placement, students will work with organizations such as the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and other child advocacy and mental health centers.

Applications will be accepted starting March 18, and the first cohort of students enrolled in the specialization will start in the fall.