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Creating an Effective Child Welfare System

Richard Gelles, PhD

Who is the client – the child or the parent? Child welfare policy in the United States is complex. Join social workers, policymakers, politicians, attorneys, and judges in examining the child welfare system. In this course you will engage in conversations about the challenges and opportunities the child welfare system faces, reflect on policies and their implications for children and parents, and develop strategies to advocate for change within the child welfare system. This course is approved by the National Association of Social Workers for 4 continuing education contact hours (Approval # 886783063-5807). For more information please visit OpenSP2: Social Work Continuing Education Credit Programs. Licensed social workers who add a verified certificate, complete all required activities, and receive a passing grade earn continuing education contact hours for licensure renewal.

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Who is the client – the child or the parent? Child welfare policy in the United States is complex. Join social workers, policymakers, politicians, attorneys, and judges in examining the child welfare system. In this course you will engage in conversations about the challenges and opportunities the child welfare system faces, reflect on policies and their implications for children and parents, and develop strategies to advocate for change within the child welfare system. This course is approved by the National Association of Social Workers for 4 continuing education contact hours (Approval # 886783063-5807). For more information please visit OpenSP2: Social Work Continuing Education Credit Programs. Licensed social workers who add a verified certificate, complete all required activities, and receive a passing grade earn continuing education contact hours for licensure renewal.

What you'll learn

  • Strategies for describing how the child welfare/child protection system functions in the United States
  • How to identify the factors that influence and constrain the child welfare/child protection system in the United States
  • Ways to identify the key inflection- or tipping points- in the system where effective change can be implemented
  • How to evaluate strategies for implementing change
  • Methods of advocacy for effective practices and policies that can impact the future of child welfare/child protection in the United States

Good to know

Know what's good
, what to watch for
, and possible dealbreakers
Is designed for individuals involved in the child welfare system, such as social workers, policymakers, politicians, attorneys, and judges
Taught by Richard Gelles, a recognized expert in the field of child welfare
Develops skills in describing and influencing the child welfare system in the United States
Provides strategies for evaluating and implementing change in the child welfare system
May require students to have some prior knowledge or experience in child welfare
Does not provide hands-on experience or practical training in child welfare

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Career center

Learners who complete Creating an Effective Child Welfare System will develop knowledge and skills that may be useful to these careers:
Child Welfare Advocate
In your role as a Child Welfare Advocate, you may work to ensure that children's rights are protected and that they have access to necessary services. This course may provide you with the knowledge and advocacy skills to effectively represent children and families within the child welfare system.
Social Work Professor
As a Social Work Professor, you may teach courses on child welfare and conduct research in the field. This course may provide you with the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in child welfare, which you can incorporate into your teaching and research.
Child Welfare Researcher
As a Child Welfare Researcher, you may conduct research on various aspects of the child welfare system, such as child abuse prevention, foster care, or adoption. This course may provide you with the methodological and analytical skills to design and execute rigorous research studies that contribute to the field.
Child Welfare Consultant
In your role as a Child Welfare Consultant, you may provide expertise and guidance to child welfare agencies and organizations. This course may enhance your knowledge of best practices and emerging trends in child welfare, enabling you to effectively advise and support organizations in improving their services.
Child Welfare Training Specialist
Training Specialists develop and deliver training programs for child welfare professionals. This course may provide you with the skills to effectively design and facilitate training programs that enhance the knowledge and skills of social workers, caseworkers, and other professionals in the field.
Program Manager
As a Program Manager in the field of child welfare, you may oversee the implementation and evaluation of programs designed to support children and families. This course may provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the child welfare system and the strategies for implementing effective programs.
Child Protective Services Investigator
As a Child Protective Services Investigator, you may investigate reports of child abuse or neglect, gather evidence, and determine whether there is a need for further intervention. This course may provide you with a deeper understanding of the child welfare system's processes and procedures.
Adoption Social Worker
As an Adoption Social Worker, you may work with families who are adopting children or with children who are in the foster care system. This course may enhance your understanding of the complex legal and emotional issues involved in adoption and help you provide support to adoptive families.
Foster Care Social Worker
Foster Care Social Workers provide support and guidance to children and families in the foster care system. This course may equip you with the knowledge and skills to effectively assess family needs, develop service plans, and advocate for children's well-being in the foster care system.
Policy Analyst
Policy Analysts develop and evaluate policies and programs that impact the child welfare system. This course may equip you with the knowledge and analytical skills to critically assess policies, identify areas for improvement, and advocate for effective child welfare practices.
Family Lawyer
In your role as a Family Lawyer, you may provide legal representation to parents, children, or other family members involved in child welfare cases. This course may provide valuable insights into the legal framework and policy considerations that shape the child protection system.
Child Welfare Administrator
As a Child Welfare Administrator, you may oversee the operations of a child welfare agency or department. This course may provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in managing a child welfare organization, including budgeting, staffing, and program development.
Juvenile Court Judge
In your role as a Juvenile Court Judge, you may adjudicate cases involving child abuse, neglect, or delinquency. This course may help you gain a deeper understanding of the legal and social factors that influence child welfare cases, enabling you to make informed decisions.
Child Welfare Policy Advisor
As a Child Welfare Policy Advisor, you may provide advice and guidance to policymakers on issues related to child welfare. This course may equip you with the knowledge and analytical skills to evaluate policies, identify areas for improvement, and develop effective policy recommendations.
Child Welfare Social Worker
As a Child Welfare Social Worker, you may investigate reports of abuse and neglect, assess families, and develop a service plan to assist families and children. This course may be useful for gaining insights into the complex challenges and opportunities faced by the child welfare system.

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