NACSW Online Continuing Education

Addressing Racial Disproportionality through Catholic Social Teachings
Length: 1 hour
Primary Audience:
  • Social Workers, Church Leaders, Educators
Practice Level(s):
  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Training Format: Video-based
Number of CE Hours: 1

Linda Plitt Donaldson, PhD
Kathleen Belanger, PhD
Registration FEES

Current Member Rate
Non-Member Rate

Catholic social teaching is a rich resource for all Christian social workers to root their values and practice models in scripture and the life of Jesus Christ. This workshop will include an overview of Catholic Social Teaching and apply CST principles to the problem of racial disproportionality in child welfare.


  • Direct Practice: Individuals, Couples, Families and Children
  • Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment
  • Direct Practice: Groups and Communities
  • Public Administration and Policy

Sample Content

Learning Objectives
As a result of this training, participants will be able to:

Participants will gain a basic understanding of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and their congruency with social work values.

Participants will understand the current issues, facts, and measurements related to racial disproportionality.

Participants will learn strategies for addressing racial disproportionality in child welfare at the individual, family, agency, community, and social policy levels.


Catholic social teaching offers universal principles for addressing the social conditions of society. Social workers will find CST compatible with the NASW Code of Ethics and Christian social workers may find CST a rich resource for grounding their values in scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Racial disproportionality in child welfare, or the disproportionate number of children of color relative to their proportion in the total population, is an example of an injustice that undermines human dignity, weakens families and communities, and disproportionately effects people who are poor. Problem: 1. Children of color who enter the child welfare system are threatened with the denial of dignity and freedom within their own birth families to grow. 2. Children in foster care experience poorer outcomes -higher poverty homelessness, lower educational achievement, etc. (Pecora et al., 2006). 3. A child's removal from the home, even temporarily, shatters family system, in effect punishing struggling families (Roberts, 2002) 4. In addition to weakening families, disproportionality is distortion of community, with negative consequences shared unequally. Studies have identified community-level, family-level, and agency level indicators predicting racial disproportionality including poverty, education, employment, and housing (Eamon & Kopels, 2004; Lin & Harris, 2008; Lu, Landsverk, Ellis-Macleod, Newton, Ganger, & Johnson, 2004; Stevens, 2006; Turner & Ross, 2002; Z�rate, 2009). Solutions: 1. Catholic Social Teachings places the dignity of the human person, the common good, and preferential option for the poor among the central tenets for measuring a just society. 2. Catholic social teaching requires us to assess the needs of struggling families, to secure "equal dignity of all people" (Pontifical Council, 2004 �144) and to protect the family, the "cradle of life and love" and "sanctuary of life" (see above). 3. Many family-centered approaches to reducing disproportionality successful (Marts, Lee, McRoy & McCroskey, 2011; Richardson, 2011). 4. Interventions working collaboratively with community stakeholders (James, Green, Rodriguez & Fong, 2011; Busch, Wall, Koch & Anderson, 2011; Clark, Buchanan, & Letgers, 2011). 5. Catholic social teaching requires us to address racial disproportionality at all systems levels and to engage civically in reshaping policies for just communities where all have the resources to support their families and thrive. Catholic social teaching inspires us to act collectively, or in solidarity, to achieve an equal and just society in this country.


Linda Plitt Donaldson is Associate Professor of Social Work and IPR Fellow at the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University and co-editor of Social Work & Christianity's special issue on social work and Catholic Social Teachings. She has extensive nonprofit social service leadership, management, research and advocacy experience. Kathleen Belanger, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Social Work at Stephen F. Austin State University, co-editor of Social Work & Christianity's special issue on social work and Catholic Social Teachings. She is also co-editor of Challenging Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Research, Policy & Practice (CWLA Press, 2010).

CE Accreditation Information

NACSW, provider #1078, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), phone: 800-225-6880, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program valid 1/27/18 – 1/27/21. NACSW maintains sole responsibility for the program. The North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) is also recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0479. Social Workers will receive 1 continuing education clock hour(s) for participating in this training. It is the responsibility of participants to contact their licensing boards to verify that this training, as a distance education session, meets their jurisdictional standards for continuing education credit and/or licensure renewal.

Requirements for Earning Continuing Education Contact Hours

Requirements to earn continuing education contact hours for home-study courses include: a) engaging with all the required materials provided by this training; b) completing and submitting an on-line evaluation of this session; c) receiving a grade of 80% or better on the “open-book” post-workshop quiz. Session participants who meet these three requirements will receive a continuing education contact hour certificate from NACSW on-line immediately following their completion of this course.

Registration Fee and Refunds

The registration fee covers engaging in all the required materials provided by the on-line training as well as costs associated with maintaining the website which supports the training materials, as well as CE certificate administration. Refunds, minus a $25 administrative fee, are available upon request within 15 days of purchasing/enrolling in a training. No refunds or exchanges are available once the training quiz has been opened.

Grievance Procedure

Any individual who has a complaint regarding any aspect of this training should communicate in writing to the executive director of NACSW within 30 days after having completed the training. The executive director will conduct a review and respond in writing within 30 days of receiving this complaint. For more information, contact the NACSW office at or 203-270-8780.

Request for Accommodations

Please contact NACSW at, or 203.270.8780 if you would like to request a special accommodation.


Because this is a home study training session, there is no direct contact and/or communication between the individual taking this training and the session speaker. Interactivity for this training consists of the interaction between a person registered for this training session and the materials and content offered in this session.

Contact Information

If you have questions pertaining to the content of the training (session content, outline, content level, continuing education contact hours, etc.), contact or 203.270.8780. You will receive a response within 24 hours. If you are in need of technical support, send an email to You will receive a response from the program's technical support manager within 8 hours, 7 days a week.