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Alma J. Carten
Associate Professor of Social Work; McSilver Faculty Fellow
(212) 998-5933

Areas of Expertise

Child welfare practice, policy, and program development; culturally competent services to children and families of color; child abuse and neglect and new immigrants; poverty, child well-being, and family development; education and training for culturally competent practice; integration of transformative and service learning theories into field education curriculum; integration of mediation service strategies in child welfare practice; and clinical practice with people of color


Alma J. Carten, PhD, LCSW, ACSW, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University, Master of Social Work degree from the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work, and Doctorate in Social Welfare from Hunter College School of Social Work of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is currently an Associate Professor of Social Work at the New York University Silver School of Social Work, and teaches in the social welfare policy and human behavior curricula sequences in the MSW and PhD programs. She has held a number of faculty appointments, including director and chair of the Westchester Social Work Education Consortium, and has taught at Hunter College School of Social Work and the Behavioral Science Department at the New York City Policy Academy.

Dr. Carten has professional experience in the private and public sectors. She served on the United Way of New York City agency membership Review Panel, board member and consultant for a number of New York City voluntary social welfare agencies, and the Administration for Children and Families, and the Children's Bureau at the federal level. Her work in city government includes director of the Office of Adolescent Services, interim commissioner of the Child Welfare Administration, special advisor to the Commissioner/Administrator of the Human Resources Administration, and appointed by Mayor David Dinkins to the Mayor's Commission on the Foster Care of Children.

She has conducted research and published on family preservation programs, maternal substance abuse, child survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, independent living services for adolescents, dimensions of abuse and neglect among Caribbean families, neighborhood-based services and mental health services in the African American community. Her most recent publications are Reflections on the American Social Welfare State: The Collected Papers of James R. Dumpson, published by NASW Press, examining social welfare policy in the US over a 50 year period from the enactment of the 1935 Social Security Act through the 1996 Welfare reforms, Strategies for Deconstructing Racism in the Health and Human Services, published by Oxford University Press and two articles published in examining the legacy of slavery for the mental health of blacks, and racial discrimination in the development of US social welfare policy for children and families.

Dr. Carten was elected president of the New York City Chapter of the National Association for Social Workers for a two- year term from 2000-2002, is recipient of the chapter’s highest social work leadership award, African American Pioneers award, and the Silver School’s Dorothy Height Humanitarian Award.