Meet D. Crystal Coles, Ph.D., recent Ph.D. Program graduate
Coles, a recent Ph.D. graduate and CSWE Minority Fellowship Program alum, works as a post-doctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she manages the daily operations of a federally funded project that partners with maternal and child health home visiting programs in Virginia to infuse behavioral health risk screening and mental health promotion interventions into existing maternal and child health home visiting models.
Her scholarship interest and practice experiences lie in the public child welfare arena, with an emphasis on trauma-informed social work practice, overall systemic functioning and systemic contribution to childhood trauma. She is committed to addressing the needs of society through her work and its emphasis on social justice, systematic inequalities, policy development and assisting social change within the foster care system for children and families.
Coles teaches in both the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs at VCU and is also an adjunct professor at Longwood University. Her teaching interests include clinical social work practice, human behavior in the environment, community and organizational theory, and social justice.
Her dissertation, “Identifying Differences Between Privatized, Partially Privatized, and Non-Privatized State Foster Care Systems: A Comparative Study Examining Efficiency and Effectiveness,” examines the systemic differences of privatized and non-privatized public child welfare systems through the lens of systemic efficiency and effectiveness. Its purpose is to provide important information that could serve to truly alter systemic functioning for the betterment of service delivery for the child through the integration of policy, practice and organizational functioning that prevents further victimization of children and youth within the foster care system.