Penn Futures: Preparing Leaders in Child Welfare and Child Advocacy
The Penn Futures Project, an ambitious initiative led by three professional schools at the University of Pennsylvania, aims to collaboratively address pressing social issues that affect Philadelphia’s most vulnerable young people and their families. For this project, Faculty representing the University of Pennsylvania’s schools of Nursing, Education, Social Policy and Practice, Law, Medicine and Arts and Sciences are working to develop a university-community partnership model for a certificate program in child and family advocacy. This initiative specifically addresses critical issues facing children and families in the United States and the fragmented service system designed to provide for their care. The future of graduate education in child well-being requires specialized advanced degrees that are defined by interprofessional training and education. Currently, professionals who serve children and families train largely in isolation from one another, and no universities have programs in which faculty involved in the health, welfare, and educational worlds of children intersect at the level of graduate training. This innovative graduate cross-professional training certificate program in child welfare and child advocacy will improve interdisciplinary education at Penn and child advocacy work in Philadelphia and nationally. Students who complete this certificate will have gained the skills, knowledge, ability, and confidence to break down system silos to achieve child safety, permanency and well-being. Disrupting the current existing silos in graduate education will result in a workforce able to integrate knowledge across disciplines and improve services for children, families, and communities, with the ultimate goals of ending child abuse and neglect and improving outcomes for families.