Two Manhattan Center B.S.W. students gain placements in competitive New York City child welfare program.

by Joshua King

Child welfare is one of the most rewarding social work specializations—and one of the most difficult. Of the children that are treated by the child welfare system in the United States, 78 percent have been neglected by their parents and 22 percent of cases involve abuse. Programs that prepare social work students for a career helping this population must address the challenges of a profession that requires patience, diligence and a great deal of dedication.

There is no shortage of these qualities at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work Manhattan Center program. Two students, Daniela Vallebuona and Shereese Garbutt, have secured places in the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) selective B.S.W. Scholars Program.

The program recruits high-achieving undergraduate social work students and, out of 16 interviewees from the New York Metro area, only six were accepted in 2015. A third of these successful students were from Adelphi. “It put you on the spot, which was challenging. But it was interesting, because that challenge is what the career is all about,” Vallebuona said of the four-hour interview process.

“It’s great to have two people come through from Adelphi,” Garbutt added.


Shereese Garbutt (left) and Daniela Vallebuona

James Amato, the Manhattan Center program’s assistant director of field education, believes that the School’s requirement for students to take work placements in both their junior and senior years is a key reason for Adelphi’s success in the program. “Junior year placements enable interns to master the social work practice behaviors in preparation for the more challenging senior year placements,” he said. “By completing two internships, interns are well rounded, having worked in two different and unique practice settings.”

The accepted students will each participate in an internship with ACS in New York and receive mentoring, training and support from the organization during their senior year. Upon graduating they will transition to the Children’s Corps program, a nonprofit group that provides employment with at-risk youth and families.They will also spend two years in a full-time job with one of their partner agencies. “We both want to work with children, so this is a big step closer to doing that,” said Garbutt.

The B.S.W. Scholars Program begins on September 8, 2015, and both accept that they have a busy senior year ahead. But they also agree that the reward will be worth all the hard work.  “Knowing that we’re going to come out of the program with a job, and one in our field, is just so exciting,” Vallebuona added.

The Manhattan Center has provided the perfect framework for both girls to flourish, and they have an appreciation for this community of encouraging and like-minded people. “It is its own little family outside of the Garden City campus. Everyone is very supportive and always helping each other out,” Garbutt said.

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