Systemic Racism in Child Welfare Certificate Program

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In response to APSAC’s commitment to work towards ending racism and implicit bias in the field of child maltreatment, an Anti-racism Commission was formed. The APSAC Cultural Diversity Committee decided its contribution to the Commission would be to develop a Systemic Racism in Child Welfare Certificate Program. It will be a Virtual Cultural Institute focused on supporting child maltreatment professionals and improving their response in working with African American children and families.

The committee acknowledges that racism for Blacks in the United States takes many forms and targets different groups such as Black descendants of African slaves, Blacks from other countries, as well as Africans whose experiences closely align with the immigrant perspective. The series will focus more on the first group, the African American perspective.

Participants will receive a certificate after attending 8 hours of sessions. Participants have the option to attend the sessions live or to view recordings on APSAC's Learning Management System (LMS). Only individuals who join the live session will be eligible to earn CE credit. More information on Continuing Education Credit.

Currently scheduled sessions are described below. More sessions will be added soon, so please keep checking back. If you have any questions about the program, please contact

Upcoming Lectures 

September 28, 2021 | 12 pm - 1:30 pm ET 
Lecture 8: How Racist, Homophobic and Other Targeted Violence Against Children Affects Brain Development and Mental Health

Presenter: Jessica Black, PhD

Recent advancements in social and cognitive neuroscience, including technology such as functional neuroimaging and research to practice dissemination of findings, should be put to more consistent use and wider access in relationship to both prevention and treatment of mental health effects for children and adolescents who have been victims of targeted violence, including but not limited to racism and homophobia. Behavior, including physical and psychological, cannot be understood without first recognizing how the brain develops in supportive environments and the impact violent environments have on neural structure and function. It is essential that practitioners working with these young people understand and can therefore assess and act on the two primary routes by which such violence negatively impacts the brain and therefore mental health. First, the brain is directly and indirectly impacted by stress and trauma that such violence yields. Second, the stress and trauma interrupts sleep, play and nutrient metabolism that are required supporting factors for healthy brain development. This presentation brings light to both pathways and provides resources and evidence-based approaches to integrating these neuroscientific findings into prevention and intervention of targeted violence at both an individual and wider systems lens to improve mental health and wider development.

September 28, 2021 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET 
Lecture 9: Ignorance is Not Bliss: The Impact of Implicit Bias on Mental Health Service Delivery

Presenter: Akeem Marsh, MD, FAPA

Social determinants of mental health are directly correlated to extensive history of structural and systemic racism. This course provides a context for current racial disparities in mental health and reviews the source of so-called risk factors that disproportionately affect communities of color. Grounded in principles of social justice and racial equity, clinicians will understand the influence of biases and be encouraged to examine their role in both the mental health field and their own clinical practice. Through the use of clinical vignettes, practical applications for engagement on issues of race and racism will be explored.



$25 members 

$75 non-members 

Pricing includes both lectures

Past Lectures 

Lecture 6: The Trauma of Racism: Talking to Children and Teens

Presenters: Kristin Washington, PsyD, PMP & Pearl Berman, PhD

This 90-minute workshop is designed to help parents and other concerned adults talk to children and teens about the historical trauma faced by African-Americans and how this has influenced current civic unrest over police brutality and racism. It takes a psychoeducational approach and provides practical ideas to stimulate adult thinking about what strategies might work best with a particular family. Ideas are discussed that can support resilient development and a sense of agency for ending racial trauma. There will be a 30 minute question and response section at the end of the workshop.

Lecture 7: The Impact of Institutional Racism on Mental Health Services for Children Involved in the Child Welfare System

Presenters: Gimel Rogers, PsyD, ABPP & Marina Bassili, PsyD

This training will review statistics regarding the ethnically diverse population and its overrepresentation in the Child Welfare System (CWS). A review of institutional racism and structural discrimination in the CWS will be explored. In addition, historical factors as they relate to mental health treatment and outcomes will be discussed. Lastly, this training will provide practical implications at the individual and systemic level to address these disparities.​


This registration will cover both lectures.

Recordings available for purchase via the APSAC Learning Management System

$25/ members, $75 non-members

Lectures must be purchased together

Lecture 5: Breaking Down Barriers for Engagement with Families of Color to Achieve Racial Equity

New relationship-based tools are needed to engagement, assessment and intervention with families of color in the child welfare system. In many communities there is often a racial divide between predominately white administrators and providers and the predominately Black and Brown children and families they serve. (Ghosh-Ippen & Lewis, 2011). This webinar presents anti-racist tools based on a trauma-informed model that assesses: 1) the perception of of the quality of the working relationships from both sides of multicultural divides; 2) recognize cultural risks and vulnerabilities, and 3) build on cultural strengths and resilience through a partnership approach to child welfare services.​

Participants will have the option to purchase to watch the lecture live or view them later on the APSAC LMS. 

Psychology and Social Work CE credits are available for this session. Participants must attend in-person to receive credits.

Recordings available for purchase via the APSAC Learning Management System

Pricing: $15/ members, $40 non-members

Lecture 3: Racism Amid Child Welfare Oversight: The Impact on Black Children and Families

This session will address the prevalence of disproportionality within the child welfare system as a result of systemic racism and oppression embedded in such institutions. Participants will be introduced to ways in which systemic racism impacts Black child welfare involved children and families and will brainstorm ideas for improving outcomes.

Lecture 4: Disproportionate Representation: The Intersection of Race, Religion, and Region in America's Welfare System

Darrell Armstrong, M.Div., Ed.s., MFT, D.D., is pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church (Trenton, NJ) a thriving multicultural and multigenerational community of faith, which under Armstrong’s leadership became the first house of worship in the US to officially declare itself a No-Hit Zone. His policy training at Stanford University (BA in Public Policy), training at Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and therapeutic/ clinical training at The College of New Jersey (Ed.S. in marriage & family therapy) have uniquely prepared him to be a respected voice in the national and international child welfare/family strengthening communities. He is a certified master-trainer in NPCL’s Fatherhood/Responsible Male Involvement. In 2016, he was appointed the Chief Administrative Officer to the United Nations by the Baptist World Alliance where he advocates for Human Rights and espouses Family Strengthening policies and practices on a global level. Service to APSAC includes as a 2017 founding member of the National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment and 2018 Colloquium keynote speaker. He continues to actively serve on multiple committees, including the Faith Committee.

Recordings available for purchase via the APSAC Learning Management System

$25/ members, $75 non-members

Lectures must be purchased together

Lecture 1: Applying the Social Ecological Model (SEM) to Promoting Child Well-Being in Black Families

This presentation will address how societal inequities contribute to the intergenerational trauma and resultant child maltreatment, and how an assets building approach that uses the SEM model can promote child-well being.

Lecture 2: Hip Hop as Prevention and Intervention for Youth in Child Welfare  

Hip Hop is a global cultural medium that evolved from African American literary and musical forms from both the United States and the Caribbean as well as Pan-African cultural forms in Latin American and Africa. This workshop will focus on the historical roots of Hip Hop as an artistic medium, posit its use as an anti-racist and youth-centric art form within both prevention and intervention and provide empirical evidence of social-emotional, clinical, educational, and civic outcomes associated with Hip Hop. This session will be experiential, and include poetry, lyrics, music, and music videos.

Recordings available for purchase via the APSAC Learning Management System

$25/ members, $75 non-members

Lectures must be purchased together