Masters Thesis

A guide to the dependency system: an empowering and informative website

The purpose of this project was to create and launch an informational website tool for child welfare system-involved families to help guide them through the court process. The goal of this project was to provide families with an easily accessible educational guide on a user-friendly platform so that they could be empowered and informed throughout the child welfare court process. It is rooted in concepts of social justice and the empowerment approach by compiling information that is historically difficult to find and understand, and offering it in a manner that is easily accessible and understood. This graduate project delves into the reasoning behind the need for such a project, particularly the gap in education and support for parents when they become system-involved. Much of the information gathered was done so through informal interviews with judges, social workers, attorneys, and other professionals within the child welfare field. These professionals also offered valuable insights into the greatest needs of their clients and what they most often struggled with, which allowed for this graduate project to hone in on these expressed needs on the website. “Partofthesystem.org” provides a comprehensive guide to the child welfare court system, with explanations of complex court terms, a guide to educational rights for biological parents, explanations of what to expect, and county specific resources and explanations. The website is specific to Stanislaus County, CA and San Joaquin County.

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