Educating Children in Our Care

An Inter-professional Dialogue


  • Kathryn Ann Levine Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba
  • Dawn Sutherland
  • Melanie Janzen



child welfare, children in care, educational child welfare, Interprofessional education


In Canada, there is increasing recognition that poor educational outcomes of children and adolescents involved with the child welfare system represent an emerging crisis for youth, their families, and the broader society. Interprofessional education and collaboration between educators and social workers may facilitate better outcomes for children in care. Although interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional collaboration (IPC) are well established in the allied health fields, there is not an equivalent acceptance within the applied social sciences, specifically in education and child welfare contexts. This may partially be attributed to the “siloed” nature of these professions, which limits both capacity and opportunities for professionals to understand each other’s mandates, roles, and policies. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of a graduate elective course for social workers and educators that was geared toward educational outcomes of children in care. Thirty-eight students from both disciplines participated in a summer institute. Although participants valued the content and process of the course, it is unclear whether these types of initiatives facilitate enhanced IPC. Findings do however suggest that IPE initiatives targeted toward a specific population may have more positive outcomes, compared to general IPC.



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