Welcome to Capstones Class of 2020

The Department of Social Work is thrilled to present our senior capstone presentations. Please join us online to learn more about the students’ impressive research and social work!

Click on each student name below to see their presentation titles and synopsis.

Some of the students will be presenting their research via Zoom (see program for more details and times) and all are welcome! Contact David Simpson (simpsoda@plu.edu) if you would like to join us or if you have any questions about joining the meeting via Zoom.

Social Work Capstones Program

See program for more details.

Social Work Capstones - Class of 2020

Through a Social Work Lens: Stigmatization and Barriers to Treatment for Youth with ASD

This paper provides an overview of the challenges youth and families impacted by ASD have to face with an emphasis on stigmatization and barriers to accessing appropriate and necessary treatment but also highlights how the social work profession has advanced current and future developments to mitigate these challenges.

Justice for Juvenile Youth: A Social Work Perspective on Bridging Social Welfare and the Juvenile Justice System

Millions of youth face the justice system every year and do not receive rehabilitation or assistance with reintegration into society. The lack of focus on reducing and preventing delinquent behaviors, perpetuates recidivism among youth.This paper will outline the postion of social workers and how they can assist in reducing recidivism.

Negative Implications of the Lack of Mental Health Services for Youth with Anxiety Disorders in Schools: The Social Work Perspective

Many youth all across the world suffer with some form of an anxiety disorder. This paper discusses the negative outcomes for youth in schools with anxiety disorders when they do not have the resources they need to properly handle their disorder.

Suffering in Silence: Understanding the Impact of Stigma on Adults with Mental Illness

This paper addresses the global stigma around mental health and the significant negative impact it has on adults with mental illness. This paper takes a social work perspective on stigma’s effects, what is currently being done to combat it, and how social workers can support its reduction and hopeful elimination in the future.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Keeping the Doors of Opportunity Open

My paper explains why having effective vocational rehabilitation (VR) services is absolutely necessary in providing people with disabilities equitable opportunities for gainful employment, thus making it possible for them to live as independently as people without disabilities live.

Law Enforcements’ Need of Training when interacting with People in a Mental Health Crisis

How do we stop the unjustified shootings of those who suffer from a mental health crisis? The following paper will explain the need of training and re-training of law enforcement officials who respond to those who suffer from mental illness.

Access Denied: Lack of Mental Health Resources for Immigrants and Refugees

Immigrating to a foreign country is not only stressful, but can be entirely overwhelming and straining on someone’s mental health. Additionally, having to face language barriers, cultural differences, etc. can take a toll. There needs to be more mental health resources for immigrants as well as mental health education for populations who might not know about the importance of mental health. These resources can look very different for many cultures, but it is vital to give immigrants and refugees all encompassing support as they are transitioning to their new life in the United States.

Increasing Culturally Competent Practice in K-12 Schools: Professional Diversity, Closing the Opportunity and Achievement Gap

Cultural competence is an important practice in any work field. School social workers are the bridge between students and their families, their teachers, and the community. This paper explores how the role of school social workers, their educational background, and experiences can help increase culturally competent practice in K-12 schools to create a more diverse school setting.

“Hella Cool, Hella Lame”: Youth Engagement in Juvenile Rehabilitation

Young people, even those involved with the juvenile justice system, deserve to have a voice. This paper addresses the development of youth engagement systems and strategies to empower our nation’s most vulnerable youth.

Fighting Her Way Out of Homelessness: Female-headed Families Experiencing Homelessness

Homeless mothers have faced many adversities and obstacles that keep them stuck in the vicious cycle of homelessness. This paper examines the increased research, programs, and support that have opened up opportunities for women to break the cycle.

The Invisibility of Indigenous Voices: Ecological Social Work As the Future

In the name of History, Indigenous communities have been oppressed as colonized peoples even until today around the world. Here we will explore Indigenous communities who are impacted by climate change.

Redefining Rehabilitation: Finding a Holistic Approach to Successful Offender Re-Entry

The current federal prison system focuses on surface level rehabilitation that corresponds with offense. In order to ensure successful reintegration the focus must turn to supporting the whole person.

Survivors of Domestic Violence: A Social Work Perspective on Violence Against Mothers

Intimate partner violence is a highly pervasive and preventable crime. This paper will examine the many facets of intimate partner violence amongst mothers, which includes the many dynamics and roles social workers typically operate.

Neglected Knowledge of Co-Occurring Disorders of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Adolescents: A Social Work Perspective

Adolescence is a time of change and transition in young people’s lives, also a time of vulnerability. This paper connects a social work perspective to co-occurring disorders and the need for advanced treatment, development, practice, and knowledge surrounding co-occurring disorders in adolescents.

Absenteeism: A Social Worker’s Role in Getting Students Back in the Classroom

Students are absent from school for a number of reasons. This capstone explores some of those reasons, policies that impact students, and what programs exist to help social workers improve attendance and get students back at school.

Shedding Light on the Challenges That DACAmented and Undocumented Individuals in the United States Face Through a Social Work Lens

Undocumented and DACA status immigrants are an essential part of this country. However, because of their lack of status, this stigmatized community lives in constant fear. This paper explores the need for advocacy, resources and ultimately legislature to protect this vulnerable population of individuals that deserve a chance of the “American Dream”.

Are our Hands Tied?: A Social Work Perspective on the use of Psychiatric Restraints

Individuals suffering from serious mental illness in psychiatric care facilities are deserving of a safe place to recover. With that being said, is the use of psychiatric restraints justified? This paper outlines the detriments of using restraints when it comes to trauma and mental health.

Emotional Child Abuse: School-Based Child Abuse Education in Public Schools

This capstone describes the lack of knowledge and definitions that surround emotional child abuse in America. I speak about the importance of raising awareness surrounding emotional child abuse, and creating a curriculum for children in K-12 education. This curriculum would be to teach children, in an age appropriate way, about the different types of child abuse, their definitions, how to tell what it is, and provide them with information about what they can do if they believe it’s effecting them or someone they know.

Turning Crisis into Opportunity: Social Worker Lens on the Importance of Quality Interventions with Prenatal Substance Use Dyads.

Pregnant women and new mothers who are dependent on substances deserve thoughtful support and services. When an intervention is not encouraged or available, risks are often associated. It has become increasingly significant for quality interventions to disrupt and repair prenatal substance use cases.

A Social Work Approach to Addressing Disparity in Labor Market Participation for Immigrants

This paper explores many barriers to employment for immigrants, including limited English profiency, poorer education, and potential discrimination. Through a social work perspective, this presentation also looks deeper into how policies, current services, and promising developments affect immigrants’ success in securing employment.

Reintegration of Deployed Service Members: The Role of Social Work With the Family Unit

Service members and their families face challenges when reintegrating, post-deployment. This paper seeks to realize the difficulties associated with reintegration as well as address steps to smooth the reintegration process.

Policy’s Role in Reinforcing Trauma and It’s Effect on Development in Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children: A Social Work Perspective

This paper looks at the shared experiences of trauma that refugee children and their families undergo throughout the refugee and asylum process. This paper proposes that immigration policy serves to reinforce complex trauma on children and their development, leading to long-term effects.