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Children & Youth in Families and Society

This practice area prepares students to work in settings that serve children and adolescents and their families, including schools, recreational programs, family service agencies, juvenile justice systems, neighborhood organizations, prenatal clinics, and/or family planning programs. Practicing in this field involves working with individuals, families, and groups and communities to provide education and interventions for prenatal care, infant and child development, adoption, foster care and family preservation services, child abuse and neglect, violence, substance abuse, family support, teen pregnancy, and/or youth employment.

Program Details

Students selecting children and youth in families and society are required to complete the following courses, each worth three credit-hours:

Additionally, students selecting children and youth in families and society are required to complete one of the following courses, each worth three credit-hours:

Potential Careers

School Social Worker, Foster Home Developer, Child Welfare Advocate, Case Manager, Juvenile Justice Worker, Program Administrator, Policy Analyst

Student Profile

Clara Wille, MSW '15

  • Practice Area:
    Children and Youth in Families and Society
  • Practice Method Concentration:
    Interpersonal Practice

After earning her undergraduate degree in International Studies, Clara Wille joined AmeriCorps, spending two years working in New York City. In her first year, she served as a near-peer mentor to students in an underperforming elementary school for City Year New York, an organization committed to narrowing the gap between what students need to succeed and what schools and teachers can provide. Her second year was spent coaching youths at Row New York, a group that empowers young people from the city’s most under-resourced communities through the sport of rowing. It was Wille’s AmeriCorps experience that was the tipping point in her decision to pursue an MSW.

“I spent the majority of my time in New York advocating for students with teachers and providing emotional support to kids who were experiencing depression or significant trauma in their lives,” said Wille. “There is such a huge need for social workers in these settings who can provide therapy and crisis intervention. If we can help children through these kinds of issues to achieve their goals, they have so much to contribute to their communities. I wanted to make a bigger impact and provide a higher level of intervention than I was capable of at that time. That’s what motivated me to go back to school.”

I worked in under resourced communities in NYC for two years advocating for students and providing emotional support. I wanted to make a bigger impact and provide a higher level of intervention. That’s what motivated me to get my MSW.

External “big picture” factors such as poverty, malnutrition, and exposure to violence have a tremendous impact on the outcome of social work, says Wille. She’s pursuing a dual degree MSW and MPH because she wants to design mental and physical health interventions that will impact the larger scale issues as well as the interpersonal needs. Without both, says Wille, intervention won’t be effective.

Wille was awarded several scholarships through the School of Social Work, including the Dean’s Scholarship and the Donor’s Award.

“The scholarships were really the deciding factor for me because I am an out-of-state student and could never have afforded the tuition. The funding made it possible, and I’m just so happy to be here.”



  • M. Antonio G. Alvarez

    LEO Lecturer II
    School social work, adventure based practice, child welfare, community-based interventions, bullying and suicide prevention and intervention, international social work, and practice with indigenous/immigrant populations.
  • Daphne M. Brydon

    Research Associate & LEO Adjunct Lecturer
    University of Michigan School of Social Work
    In addition to her clinical interests, she is involved in research projects at UM School of Social Work, including the evaluation of the implementation and sustainability of evidence based practices within community mental health agencies in Michigan.
  • Barry N. Checkoway

    Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
    Community organization, community development, neighborhood development, community-based policy advocacy, participatory research, youth empowerment, evaluation
  • Ellen Y. Chute

    LEO Lecturer II
Full faculty list »

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