Inaugural CalSWEC Title IV-E Summit Unites Partners and Students

Combining Student Day and Field Institute Yields Benefits for Everyone

“The event was outstanding!”

"Spending time with Title IV-E students and partners across the state brought us together—impresses upon us the reason we chose this field, and rejuvenates us with passion for what we do.”

The inaugural CalSWEC Title IV-E Summit on April 20-21 generated comments like these from among its more than 350 participants, who included Title IV-E partners, students, and agencies, and Tribal and community partners from throughout the state.

The IV-E Summit combined the Title IV-E Student Day and the Title IV-E Field Institute for project coordinators, formerly held as two separate events, to gain a richer understanding of the child welfare landscape and to broaden statewide perspectives. It continued the two events’ practice of having keynote speakers, offering networking opportunities, and centering the conference around a child welfare theme.

Additionally, it introduced new features, the “StoryCorps” video booth for participants to share their IV-E experiences and the Public Child Welfare Resource Zone, which offered enhanced tabling opportunities for practice partners to share organizational, practice, hiring, and other relevant information with the statewide audience of students and professionals.

Year-Long Planning Pays Off

After a year of planning and support from their sponsors, the Title IV-E Summit Planning Committee and Student Coordinators, with their respective Committees of Student Representatives, shared in the culminating product of their collaborative process. 

Pictured are Welcome Committee members, led by Chair Ariel Richards of CSU, East Bay, far right.

”I loved every phase of the collaborative, creative process due to the meaningful interactions I’ve had with others committed to child welfare,” said Title IV-E MSW student Veronica Tong of CSU, San Marcos, a student representative on the Social Media Committee who was integral in developing and producing the creative and inclusive Summit logo.

Theme and Goals Frame the Discourse

Social Justice in Child Welfare Today: Enhancing Equity for Tomorrow was the theme for the child welfare-focused conference. The following event goals guided the keynote address and workshop selections:

  • To enhance equity for diverse communities by supporting skill building for holistic practice, addressing implicit bias, and working with intersectionality.
  • To learn from individuals impacted by the child welfare system and their perspectives on creating change to enhance equity.
  • To support implementation of the California Child Welfare Core Practice Model.

 “The keynote speaker was awesome. She engaged the audience, provided resources and shared experiences.” (Summit attendee)

Dr. Rita Cameron Wedding, Sacramento State University Department of Women’s Studies chair and professor of Ethnic Studies, nationally recognized authority on implicit bias, and developer of the widely used Implicit Bias-Impact on Decision-Making curriculum, delivered the high-energy keynote address.

She shifted the audience’s cognitive space through an impromptu dance party in order to facilitate a discussion that often elicits discomfort—race and implicit bias. The discussion touched upon societal repercussions of implicit bias and, ultimately, the repercussions that manifest as disproportionality in the child welfare system.

Through her discussion of implicit bias, Dr. Rita Cameron Wedding urged future and current child welfare workers to be aware of the extent to which implicit bias is present in their work, and to actively work against it for the betterment of the lives of the children and families they serve.

View the keynote address.

Varied and Relevant Workshops

“There was a good selection of knowledge-, empathy- & skill-building exercises offered, many of which will be useful to me in the classroom.” (Summit attendee)

"The networking with students, speakers, and other count[ies] was very helpful. The workshop topics were very informative and the pace of the workshops well planned and executed." (Summit attendee)

The Summit hosted 18 workshops, which epitomized the ideals outlined in the event goals and were led by experts on the topics, including “Impacting Disproportionality: Cultural Responsiveness Academy”; “Tribal Systems of Care: Supporting Healing, Wellness, and Resiliency”;  and “The Necessity, Understanding, Design, and Implementation of SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Gender Expression)-Affirming Organizations in Child Welfare.”

Workshop descriptions and presenter information are listed in the event program.  Workshop materials can be accessed here.

 ‘StoryCorps’ and Resource Zone Promote Sharing

“I will encourage my social work students to become involved and be introduced to CalSWEC as a resource and as an opportunity for expanded awareness.” (Summit attendee)

The Summit introduced the CalSWEC “StoryCorps” video booth, whose intention was to showcase CalSWEC’s mission, impact, and dynamic community. The video booth offered attendees the opportunity to discuss the importance of having a strong child welfare workforce in California, what they value about the Title IV-E Summit and/or other convening spaces provided by the IV-E Program, as well as their meaningful and memorable experiences through the IV-E Stipend Program. A number shared their perspectives, experiences, and thoughts.

Another popular innovation was the Public Child Welfare Resource Zone, which included the reception sponsor, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), as well as the City & County of San Francisco, Orange County Children & Family Services, San Bernardino County, San Luis Obispo County, Solano County Department of Social Services, Stanislaus County Community Services, Santa Clara County Social Services, and Ventura County Human Services CFS.

Concurring with many participants, Student Representative Tong said, “The CalSWEC Title IV-E Summit created a great opportunity to learn from and network with not only other Title IV-E students, but with Title IV-E partners and community agents from so many differing programs and counties.”