In fieldwork practicum courses, students participate in weekly seminars and conduct related fieldwork at outside organizations. This practicum course will focus on the workings of the child welfare system in the District of Columbia. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and also undertake 10 hours/week of fieldwork at a child welfare-related organization.
SEMINAR: Students will study Supreme Court and District of Columbia cases defining the fundamental nature of the parent/child relationship and setting forth when state intervention is warranted to protect the best interests of the child. Students will gain an understanding of the various stages of child protection proceedings and the different roles, responsibilities and professional relationships of the attorneys representing the government, the child and the parents at each stage. Issues concerning interracial and gay adoption will be discussed, as will the overrepresentation of poor and minority youth in the child welfare system. Students will give an in-class presentation on a topic of their choosing, and will write a final paper.
FIELDWORK: Students will participate in fieldwork with a child welfare-related organization and share their experiences with the class and through written reflection memos. Some fieldwork sites require students to undergo police/background clearances, and others do not. If this is a concern for a student, he/she should reach out to the professor before the beginning of the semester to discuss field placement options.