Educating Bilingual Social Workers for the Child Welfare Workforce

A Distributive Justice Approach


  • Lisa Werkmeister Rozas University of Connecticut
  • Milagros Marrero-Johnson University Of Connecticut
  • Tracy Davis Connecticut Department of Children and Families



Social work education, Spanish-English bilingual, distributive justice, equity, child welfare


Spanish/English bilingual (SEB) speaking social workers are in high demand, particularly in the area of Child Welfare. Most require training and institutional support to increase their cultural and linguistic competence, yet the majority receive no specific education or support. As a result, many encounter inequities in the workforce. Research points to several elements that are essential to the education and development of SEB social workers. They include professional terminology, supervision in Spanish, and the opportunity to integrate theory and practice. To respond to the needs of a growing Spanish-speaking population, the UConn BSW Program has added a Child Welfare and Protection (CWP) track. CWP is designed to provide BSW SEB speaking students with specialized knowledge and experience to meet the needs of Latinx families served by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (CT DCF). This paper describes how the UConn BSW program and DCF collaborated to re-envision social work education for SEB students and contribute to distributive justice for client and worker. The CWP Track prepares BSW students to work with a range of Spanish-speaking clients while facilitating institutional support including incentives to create a much-needed workforce pipeline for SEB social work students interested in child welfare.

Author Biography

Tracy Davis, Connecticut Department of Children and Families

Director-Academy for Workforce Development

Connecticut Department of Children and Families



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