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Equity-Minded Practice for DCF Supervisors and Managers is a Course

Equity-Minded Practice for DCF Supervisors and Managers

May 24 - Aug 22, 2021

$1,100 Enroll

Full course description

Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Equity-Minded Practice

for DCF Supervisors and Managers

 May 24 - August 21, 2021

Virtual Sessions from 6-7:30 (Day TBD)

Salem State University School of Social Work



We draw from the paradigm of equity-minded practice in social work education to conceptualize this certificate program, which will support DCF managers’ development of knowledge and skills integral to critically culturally competent, intersectional, and anti-oppressive practice. Equity-mindedness is the perspective or mode of thinking and practice exhibited by practitioners who call attention to patterns of inequity in client processes and outcomes (Council on Social Work Education, 2020). These practitioners take personal as well as institutional responsibility for the success of their clients, and critically reassess their own practices through engaging in reflectivity and reflexivity (Schön, 1983; 1987). Practitioners in this mode are intersectionality-conscious and aware of the social and historical context of oppressive practices in child welfare and ancillary systems.

Our certificate program honors the need for social workers to be aware of a range of social identities, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, disability, socioeconomic status (SES), and immigration status.


Learning Objectives

At the completion of the certificate program, participants will be able to:

1.              Explain how their social identities inform their child welfare practice 

2.              Use data to identify inequitable processes and outcomes by social identity statuses

3.              Discuss influences of various child welfare practices on processes and outcomes      related to social identities

4.              Exercise agency to contribute to equitable processes and outcomes for clients and colleagues of all social identities 

5.              View practice contexts and relationships as influenced by dynamics of privilege and oppression

6.              Self-monitor interactions with clients and colleagues of different social identities

Program Description, Schedule, Content Delivery

The program will address three areas within the larger framework of equity-minded practice in child welfare.

 1.Addressing Disproportionality and Disparity in Child Welfare Services (weeks 1 - 4)

·                    Reflexivity and reflectivity as tools for anti-racist practice

·                    Critical cultural competence, intersectionality, cultural humility, and anti-oppressive practice as frameworks

            for child welfare supervision and practice

·                    Using data to understand and address racial and ethnic disproportionalities

·                    Exploring policy mechanisms at the mezzo and macro levels that influence
 disproportionality and disparity in child welfare processes and outcomes

2.      Disability and Child Welfare (weeks 5 - 8)

·                    Learning about disability identity and culture for empowerment of clients

·                    Identifying and confronting ableism in child welfare practice

·                    Understanding the social and medical models of disability to inform practice

·                    Subverting the personal tragedy theory of disability

·                    Embracing disability justice principles for empowerment-oriented practice

·                    Becoming disability competent in child welfare practice

3.      Child Welfare Practice with Immigrants and Refugees (weeks 9 - 12)

·                    Cultural responsiveness to the multiple psychosocial challenges of immigrant and refugee populations in child welfare practice

·                    Integration of various approaches to working with immigrant families and children that build upon ecosystems theory, empowerment, strengths-based and collaborative perspectives to child welfare services

·                    Respect the unique cultures, values, and ethical codes of practice that apply to working with immigrant and refugee individuals, families, and communities

·                    Competently manage the ethical dilemmas specific to working with immigrant and refugee populations.

The program will consist of a 12-week online seminar series to be held from May through August. Participants will engage in weekly, 90-minute synchronous Zoom meetings from 6 – 7:30 p.m. (day of week TBD) and approximately 90 minutes of asynchronous coursework (e.g., online exercises, discussion posts, and assessments) for a total of three hours of learning per week for 12 weeks. Participants will also be expected to read or view course-related materials in advance of synchronous meetings. CEUs will be available through the SSU School of Social Work.



Certificate program instructors will be drawn from the faculty of the School of Social Work. Below are the four faculty who are expected to teach in the program in spring/summer 2021.

Lisa Johnson, MSW, PhD is an associate professor of social work and has served as interim dean and BSW program coordinator. Dr. Johnson has practiced in both the child welfare and healthcare fields and worked with complex systems for non-profit development and community organizing. Her research and scholarship interests encompass child welfare; diversity, equity, and social justice; workforce development; disability studies, and social work education. From 2009 to 2014, she coordinated the Massachusetts BSW Child Welfare Scholars Project, which supported the education and professional development of students dedicated to practicing in the field of child welfare.

Michael Melendez, PhD, LICSW is professor of social work. He teaches courses primarily in clinical practice, diversity, human behavior in the social environment trauma and substance use disorders. Dr. Melendez is Professor emeritus of Simmons College School of Social Work and a clinical research scholar emeritus of Institute of Urban Health Research Northeastern University. Dr. Melendez’s research interests are culturally responsive clinical practice, substance use disorders, spirituality, and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, he is currently Deacon for Community Engage for the Episcopal City Mission where he has engaged in immigration justice. Throughout his career he has worked with immigrants in various settings.

Yvonne Ruiz, MSW, PhD, is a professor of social work, is currently serving as Chair of the School of Social Work and has served as MSW Program Coordinator.  She teaches courses in human behavior in the social environment, and social work practice, with specializations on Latinx, immigrant, and refugee populations.  Dr. Ruiz has clinical experience in medical social work, community mental health, and behavioral health.  As a bilingual and bicultural social worker, Dr. Ruiz integrates equity, anti-oppressive, and social justice approaches in her teaching, scholarship, and practice.


Elspeth Slayter, MSW, PhD is a professor of social work who identifies as a member of the disability community. She teaches child and family policy, forensic social work, disability practice and evidence-based research courses. Dr. Slayter has practiced as a forensic social worker in child welfare, public criminal defense, juvenile justice, and education settings. Her equity-focused research and consulting centers around disability, race, ethnicity in the addiction and child welfare service sectors.