March 2023

Celebrating the Success of

Donjai Calhoun

Donjai Calhoun, a 2022 Georgia State University graduate, has worked in child welfare for seven and a half years. He started his career in early head start and worked there for 11 years before taking the opportunity to work for the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) in their After School Care Program. Donjai was quickly promoted to Early Childhood Services Director, and then again to the Wellbeing Services Program Director. He now oversees the Early Childhood Services Director, the Childcare Services Director, and the Georgia CREW Director as the Wellbeing Services Program Director. Although he considers himself an "introverted social worker," Donjai has shown tremendous resourcefulness, creativity, and drive, proving himself to be a transformational leader as he grew into each role.

Read more about Donjai's keys to success.

Social Work Degrees Are Leading the Child Welfare Workforce

Social work degrees in the child welfare workforce are shown to improve:

  • Assessment and decision-making related to risk behavior, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and child safety
  • Permanency planning
  • Readiness for the work's complexity
  • Knowledge and skills in key child welfare and social work competencies

A social work education increases job readiness, decreases burnout and turnover, improves outcomes, and prepares the workforce to address equity and disparity within the system. Child welfare leaders and educators must promote the importance of social work degrees in preparing the child welfare workforce and creating an equitable child welfare system focused on keeping families together. 

Learn more about why social work degrees are important to child welfare.

Student & Alumni Learning Exchange #3:

Social Work Licensure - What's a Social Work Graduate Need to Know and Do?

Social Workers make critical contributions to the child welfare workforce. Professional licensure is important for all NCWWI alumni and students to understand and consider as a part of their ongoing professional and career development. Recently, the ASWB published concerning data about lower pass rates among older individuals and people of color. As the profession, Schools of Social Work, and other professional groups work to understand these disparities, it is important for social work students and graduates to understand what this means and develop strategies to support their success in becoming licensed social workers. Please join us in exploring this topic in more detail and gaining tips on how to successfully pass the ASWB exam.


National Student & Alumni Advisory Board Updates

Once again we greatly appreciate those who were able to make it to our National Student and Alumni Advisory board (NSAAB) meeting. If you were unable to make it we understand that we are all busy and cannot make every meeting and we look forward to connecting with you at one of our next meetings. Notes and key takeaways can be found on our student and alumni webpage on the website. Please remember you must sign-in in order to view this webpage. The next NSAAB meetings will take place:

  • Monday, April 17, 2023, at 1 pm EST/12 pm CST/10 am PST

If you are not already on the NSAAB, but you would like to join or have questions about the NSAAB, please email Liz Smith at

The Wellness Corner

Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Psychological safety is the feeling and belief that you can share your thoughts, opinions, ideas, and concerns with those in a leadership position without the fear of repercussion, or feeling degraded or ashamed. It is the "interpersonal trust, respect for the competence of all team members, and care and concern about members as a people" (Courtney et al., 2014). Psychological safety allows space for people to feel safe to speak up even during difficult conversations or with unpopular ideas. Leaders within our organizations can create a culture of psychological safety by being conscious of how they react and respond to their team and ensuring their team understands that their thoughts and ideas are always welcome and appreciated.

Creating an environment of psychological safety increases employee engagement, increases retention, fosters an inclusive workplace culture, improves employee well-being, and increases team performance (Jimenez, 2022).

Learn more about creating a psychologically safe workplace.

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