On May 31st, Maureen Braun Scalera, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, spoke to graduating Bachelor's of Social Work (B.S.W.) seniors, sharing her extensive history in social work practice and teaching. Ms. Braun-Scalera has a long history working in public and private organizations dedicated to improving the lives of families involved in the child welfare system. This work began with the statewide implementation of Family Preservation Services, an intensive in-home family education and crisis intervention program for families at risk of out-of-home placement. She had oversight of clinical programs, training, and technical assistance which led to the first Family Success Centers in New Jersey.
Ms. Braun Scalera began in higher education as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work in 1994 and has been teaching social work students ever since. She joined Rutgers University's Institute for Families full-time in May 2011 as the Director of the Office of Child Welfare Initiatives. In this role, she oversaw the expansion of the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership (the Partnership). The Partnership provides professional development for public child welfare staff. In the first four years of her tenure, the Partnership greatly expanded the number of developed course curriculums and increased the training offerings to the Department of Children and Families.
In November 2013, Ms. Braun Scalera brought Transitions for Youth, a suite of services that work with youth who are involved with and/or transitioning out of the child welfare system, into the Office of Child Welfare Initiatives. In Fall 2015, she assumed oversight of the newly formed Office of Youth Empowerment. This work continues to focus on current and future programs designed to empower and enhance the lives of youth in foster care and those aging-out of the child welfare system.
In addition to being an expert on children's services, Ms. Braun Scalera consults and trains on ethical social work practice. In 2012, she was appointed by Governor Christie to serve on the New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners and was elected Vice Chair in 2013 and Chairperson in 2016. This regulatory board oversees over 23,000 certified and licensed social workers in New Jersey. All B.S.W. students are eligible to become certified immediately after graduation, with many directly entering into Master's in Social Work (M.S.W.) programs with advanced standing status.