SSA creates new master's specializationFocus on family support, preventive services To meet the growing national need for preventive and community services for families, the School of Social Service Administration has created a new family-support specialization for students in its master's program. The specialization is part of a larger SSA program that focuses on meeting the needs of community-based agencies serving children and families.
The specialization will allow students to develop expertise in family-support practice and policy development. The candidate-review process will begin this quarter, and classes will start in the spring.
Students in the program will receive advanced training in preventive services, and an ongoing seminar to integrate fieldwork and course work will be a vital part of the specialization, said Dolores Norton, Professor in SSA and program director.
"The family-support specialization stresses the importance of understanding families -- their values, beliefs and behaviors -- within the context of their own communities," Norton said. "SSA is uniquely positioned to realize the goal of coordinated family-support education in the Chicago area because of its extensive field placements, the positions held by its alumni in a wide range of agencies and the interdisciplinary mix of its faculty. The specialization, along with our other community partnerships, is a serious investment in teaching, research and community involvement."
The new specialization is funded by the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, the Institute for Research on Human Development and endowments by Arthur Rasmussen Jr. (A.M.'43) and Elinor Nims Brink (Ph.D.'26). Of the students taking courses in the specialization, eight will receive a Brink Family Support Fellowship in their second year of the program.
The specialization is one component of SSA's larger Family Support Project, which is designed to form partnerships with area colleges, universities and community-based agencies. The project includes the development of in-service training programs for community-based practitioners as well as educational opportunities through which community workers can acquire post-secondary degrees.