Advanced Child Welfare: Policy, Practice and Advocacy

Ms. Jann Albury
Ms. Jann Albury

Emerge Faculty Fellow: Ms. Jann Albury

Child welfare belongs to the field of social work; however, there is no graduate level course related specifically to child welfare and child welfare policy. Propose legislation for the 2014 Florida legislature focuses on the professionalization of child welfare services, specifically the mandated hiring of BSW’s and MSW’s as child welfare workers and supervisors for the Florida’s Department of Children and Families. Included in the steps to the professionalizing of child welfare, social workers entering and graduating from an accredited undergraduate or graduate social work program may be provided stipends and loan forgiveness when they are hired by the Department of Children and Families. This course is being considered as a required course for social work students applying for a child welfare stipend and/or plan to work for the Department of Children and Families.

A government report indicates that less than 10% of child welfare workers and supervisors with the Florida’s Department of Children and Families hold a degree in social work. Presently, any person with a bachelor’s or master’s degree may be hired to conduct child abuse investigations or provide community based services for the Department’s high-risk children and families. This legislation offers an opportunity for the university to step forth and prepare our students to enter the child welfare field as case workers and supervisors.

This course consists of three stages. The first is researching and analyzing national and state policies and practices for papers and presentations. The second part of the course is the actual face-to-face meetings and presentations to law makers. In the final phase students will participate in process groups, complete an individual reflection paper and present findings to student organizations, EMERGE faculty, Department of Children and Families staff and administrators and other community based groups. A main goal of the presentations to student groups and community programs is to recruit students, and those from other disciplines to the social work profession.

As a result of taking this course students will have a good understanding of child welfare policy at the national and state level, best practices in the child welfare arena, and the importance of advocating for policy change. In line with high impact learning students will practice reading and analyzing proposed legislation, writing position papers and to presenting their findings and recommendations directly to a Florida legislator.

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Utilized

  • Faculty/Student Research
  • Collaborative Assignment and Projects

For more information, please contact Ms. Jann Albury at or (850) 474-2124.