< Go Back

Child Welfare

Chair: Helen Cahalane (University of Pittsburgh
APM Assignment: 2017–2019

Co-chair: Traci LaLiberte (University of Minnesota)
APM Assignment: 2017–2019

The means to accomplish the mission of child welfare in addressing child protection, in-home family preservation, foster care, adoption, and so forth are the subject of continuing debate among social work researchers, educators, social theorists, policy makers, and practitioners. Two important but contradictory trends have emerged. On the one hand, families confront an array of increasingly complex social problems that frame the context in which child welfare staff members deliver services. On the other hand, the rapid deprofessionalization of child welfare has resulted in decreasing professional credibility of child welfare staff members and the quality of services provided to the children and families they serve. Ultimately, the service delivery quality of child welfare programs reflects the value for and the level of education, training, and competence of the staff employed. This Track addresses the relationship of social work education to a range of child welfare issues, including (1) practice issues, (2) basic and applied research, (3) theory development, (4) university/agency collaboration, (5) leadership/networking to set a meaningful national agenda, (6) professionalizing child welfare staff, (7) implications of changes, and (8) other areas or innovations pertinent to child welfare. A national network of schools of social work and agency partnerships has emerged through Title IV-E child welfare projects. This Track is an opportunity to enhance networking, debate, collaboration, and expanded influence in child welfare.