Global Social Work

Dr. Darcey Merritt Presents Keynote at UNICEF China Office’s International Conference on Social Work for Children

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NYU Silver Associate Professor Darcey Merritt, whose research focuses on families involved with the public child welfare system, presented a keynote at the International Conference on Social Work for Children: Practice in China and Global Experience in Beijing at the invitation of UNICEF’s China Office. Her presentation, entitled “UNICEF: a Lifeline of Protecting China’s Children,” focused on how to bolster and promote China’s child protection system through best practices and policies based on the primary tenets of optimal child welfare: safety, permanency, and well-being.

Dr. Merritt was among the fewer than ten international experts at the invitation-only conference, which was supported by the China Ministry of Civil Affairs and was part of UNICEF’s long-term collaboration with the Chinese government to promote the country’s child protection system and strengthen its social work profession. The other participants, most of whom are based in China, included representatives of government, non-governmental organizations, and social services agencies that serve left behind and vulnerable children; social workers and other practitioners specializing in child welfare and child protection; and academics.

In March 2018, Dr. Merritt spent several weeks in China guest lecturing in classes at NYU Silver’s MSW program at NYU Shanghai; speaking at a symposium on how to apply the western National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics to Chinese practices and philanthropic efforts; visiting hospitals and agencies that serve sick, neglected, or abused children; and offering guidance on child protection policy at the Shanghai Rescue Center. “The social work profession and the child welfare system are both at their earliest stages in China,” said Dr. Merritt. “It is exciting to have had this opportunity to share my research and practice knowledge with Chinese policymakers and practitioners who are in a position to adapt it on a wide scale within their social-cultural context.”

In addition to serving on NYU Silver’s faculty, Dr. Merritt is a Faculty Fellow at the School’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, and is an Associate Editor for Children and Youth Services Review. She has frequently published and presented her research on child maltreatment prevention; maltreatment type definitional issues; neighborhood structural impact on maltreatment; and experiences of those served by public child welfare systems. She also has extensive experience as a practitioner in America’s private and public child welfare systems.