During JanTerm, students in the Welfare of Children course had the opportunity to visit organizations throughout the greater Los Angeles area that serve and support children, at-risk youth, and families, seeing first-hand the work carried out by dedicated professionals in the field.
The class also welcomed six students and three faculty members from Absalon University in Denmark as part of an ongoing partnership and exchange program between both institutions.
“The goal of the class is to give students an opportunity to learn and compare how different countries serve children, youth, and families,” said Assistant Professor of Social Work Laurel Brown, who led the course. The Absalon faculty co-presented several classes, infusing an international perspective.
The participants visited various organizations including the Boys and Girls Club of Whittier, Homeboy Industries, and the Santa Fe Springs Office of the Department of Children and Family Services. The site visits provided students exposure to the education, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems in the U.S. and provided tangible examples for students to walk away with and apply to their continued learning.
“What the Danish students found most surprising was the diversity that exists here in Southern California, which is very different from Denmark,” said Brown.
The exchange program is supported by the Office of International Programs. In May 2018, Whittier students led by Associate Professor of Social Work Paula Sheridan and Interim Director of Field Education, Social Work Lisa Ibanez traveled to Denmark and studied at Absalon University, where they visited social service agencies and government municipalities, and learned about the Danish welfare system.