Laura Van Slyke


As Interviewed by Madeleine Van Slyke, March 17, 2019

Laura M. Van Slyke: In Her Own Words

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My name is Laura McAndrew Van Slyke, I am a Licensed Clinical Social worker or LCSW.

[The question asked before the podcast was “Have you experienced or witnessed any examples of social injustice in your current or previous jobs”]

I've witnessed many many many many instances of social injustice both on the macro level and on the macro level. So the macro level refers more to how systems engage with people from more challenging circumstances and the micro level is when I’m talking about kind of individuals experiences.

[Laura is currently talking about a macro issue]

Just the fact that our foster care system is still, 13 years later since I was directly working with it on a regular basis, it’s still not appropriately funded [is a social injustice]. They literally run out of money sometimes, I think frequently, they will have years when they run out of money and are scrambling to figure out how to pay for the care of children that are in foster care, so I would certainly say that it’s a social injustice that that is not an appropriately funded program in our state. It also remains the case that children of color are more likely to be placed in foster care, whereas kids who are Anglo are more likely to be provided services and remain and remain in their homes, there’s some racial bias that remains in terms of foster care.

In terms of special education you again see some racial bias, there are tons and tons of studies that children of color are more likely to be identified as needing special education services and obviously kids who need special education services, you want them to be identified and get what they need, but you don’t want kids to be being identified who don’t need it because there could be some stigma attached to it. Specifically, boys of color tend to be overrepresented in special education programs; they also tend to be overrepresented in getting discipline referrals and getting suspended or expelled from school and all those types of things. So that’s another kind of both macro and micro issue that I see in my Current job.

Outro Music