By Trisha Ratledge
Pursuing Positive Change in Child Welfare
As a student of criminology and justice studies at CSUSM, Jordyn Young was immediately captivated by the study of people, cultures and human dynamics.
“I love studying about humanity,” said Young about the CSUSM program. “Learning about the potential of people and the power in people is fascinating. There is an endless wealth of knowledge, and you can never run out of things to learn about humans.”
The BA in criminology and justice studies at CSUSM at Temecula draws on the study of sociology and criminology to build an understanding of the social processes surrounding both crime and social justice in order to pursue solutions for positive social change.
“The curriculum is so diverse,” Young said. “The first semester, we had a theater class that tied a lot of things together for us. We also had a class about families dealing with economic issues or family violence and the root causes. Every semester, we had a class that focused on one ethnic population, something that was very important to me.”
After completing his bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2019, Young looked into the university’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program and applied. In addition, he applied to the Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend program at CSUSM, which provides an annual stipend for up to two years and specialized training for students committed to working in public child welfare.
Young was admitted to both programs and started MSW studies in the fall of 2020. As part of the Title IV-E program, he is committed to working at a county child welfare agency for two years after graduation.
In addition, he is interning at a county child welfare agency for the MSW’s field instruction component each semester. The combination of studies and field internships has clear benefits, he said.
“It makes everything we are learning practical,” Young explains. “When you study something, you can imagine how it would work. But if you go out there and you do it, everything clicks. I think that’s why they have such a high success rate in this program.”
During his first year in the MSW program, Young interned in emergency response services with a child welfare agency in North County San Diego. This front-end work involves initial responses to and evaluation of cases of abuse or neglect. For his final two semesters, Young will intern in back-end social work, or the continuing services after a child is placed in the care of the courts.
Along with learning the technical skills needed in social work — from interviewing children and families to working in the CWS/CMS (Child Welfare Services/Case Management System) — Young is developing practical skills such as flexibility.
“In social work, you can have a thousand things planned out for the day, but those things might end up not happening,” he said.
For now, Young is interested in front-end emergency response work, but he still has another year to go and more to experience. Regardless, he is looking forward to the career he sees developing.
“These degrees give me an opportunity for a career that I can grow with and that I can use to make a difference in the community,” Young said. “Eventually, I would like to be in a leadership position.”
For more information on the BA in Criminology and Justice Studies, visit csusm.edu/el/crim, and on the Master of Social Work, visit csusm.edu/socialwork.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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