Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre


The purpose of the study was to examine what social work students and early career professionals need from their agencies, supervisors, and colleagues to work effectively with immigrant clients in child welfare. The literature on social work with immigrants suggests that this work is challenging due to a plethora of barriers related to language, culture, citizenship, eligibility, and organizational environment. The study uses in-depth, qualitative interviews with seven social work students and early career social workers who work in child welfare settings in Southern California, either as interns or full-time employees. These interviews were conducted by the researchers from Fall of 2021 through Spring of 2022. Thematic analysis revealed the following themes: language, cultural humility and competence, awareness and motivation, organizational, technical, bias and judgment, and social work education. The results that emerged from this study clearly indicates that child welfare agencies have neglected to provide the right tools and address the challenges that child welfare providers have encountered in working with immigrant families. The findings of this research can be used in social work practice and education. Child welfare agencies could improve training and education for social work interns and professionals by providing workshops to promote diversity awareness and cultural diversity. Schools of social work could improve social work curriculum to enhance cultural competence and skills needed to work with diverse groups by adding a specific course dedicated to working with immigrants and offer electives that promote immigrant students to get in touch and bring awareness with their culture and empower students.

Included in

Social Work Commons