Chris French is advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in child protection workforce training as a concentration-year master’s student in Colorado State University’s School of Social Work. “I actively work with social work professionals on state training curriculum development and training enhancements related to the Child Protection Training System of Colorado, with an emphasis in best practice to engage and support children, youth, and families,” said French. This is a continuation of work begun in the first year of the MSW program with The Kempe Center, in addition to doing more facilitation of the training of child protection workers, with field instructor Krystal Grint (MSW, ’11). French was recently awarded a scholarship from the Alexander Foundation.
Read more in our interview with French about his experiences in CSU’s Distance Master of Social Work program:
What sparked your interest in social work?
“When I was an undergraduate student, I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. However, through my education courses, I realized I cared more about how children were doing at home, and their social-emotional functioning, than if they could tell me what two plus two is. I knew then social work is where I wanted and needed to be. I currently work as a Permanency Child Protection Worker with Arapahoe County Department of Human Services.”
What are your academic and research interests?
“My academic and research interests are deeply rooted in anti-oppressive social work practice with an emphasis in social action, equity, and the overall health, development, and well-being of children, youth, and families who are involved in the Child Protection System and the general community. I am strongly considering CSU’s Ph.D. program in Social Work to further study my research interests, create social and equitable action, and to better serve oppressed, vulnerable, and marginalized individuals and communities.”
How do you stay motivated in your degree program?
“One of my biggest motivators is the desire to better my community and create systemic change for the children, youth, and families of Colorado. Social workers have a lot to offer, and I am confident my Master of Social Work from Colorado State University will equip me with the knowledge and skills to better serve my community and create more positive outcomes for children, youth, and families in the Child Protection System.”
Describe your field internship experience as a social work student.
“I am currently a Training and Development Social Work Intern with the Child Protection Training System of Colorado. The Child Protection Training System is housed within The Kempe Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. In this role, I co-facilitate the Caseworker Fundamentals trainings, as well as attend, lead, and provide facilitation on an array of diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. Topics on power, privilege, and oppression within the child welfare system are engaged and discussed to enhance more positive outcomes for families.”
“I actively work with social work professionals on state training curriculum development and training enhancements related to the Child Protection Training System with an emphasis in best practice to engage and support children, youth, and families. I co-facilitate a course called Setting the Foundation: LGBTQ Competency for Child Welfare Professionals; in this course, I provide training to child welfare caseworkers within the state of Colorado around what being an ally means to LGBTQIA+ children, youth, and families by having vulnerable conversations around implicit bias and how that shows up in child protection social work practice.”