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Equity-Minded Practice for DCF Supervisors and Managers

Ended Jul 14, 2022

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Full course description

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

for DCF Supervisors and Managers

 November 3, 2021 – July 14, 2022

Virtual Sessions from 6-7:45 (Thursdays)

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 (Johnson, Slayter and Simmons, 2021). 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, disability, sexuality, gender identity and expression, 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.


Certificate program instructors will be drawn from the faculty of the School of Social Work and the larger child welfare community. Below are the four faculty who are expected to teach in the program in 2021-2022.

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.

Kathryn Peterson, MSW, LCSW, is an expert in practice with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities who are involved in the child welfare system. She works as the Plans of Safe Care Coordinator for the Boston Region at the Department of Children and Families (DCF). She serves as an LGBT liaison at DCF for 5+ years and is a project coordinator for the Alliance of Gender Affirming Professionals out of Harvard University. She is a graduate of the master’s program in social work at Salem State University. 

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.