The Workforce Institute’s Professional Development Program (PDP) celebrated many successes and developments in Fiscal Year 2022, including globally visible publications from graduates, successful hosting of events and celebrations and ACS scholarship awards.

PDP continues to be at the forefront of support for ACS staff in their professional development, creating opportunities for the integration of knowledge into practice and strengthening child welfare practice throughout New York City.  “The PDP team is honored and privileged to serve in the roles of social work educators, coaches, and supporters of our staff.” These staff members commit to their professional growth at ACS by continuing their professional development and completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees.


Featured On The World Stage

PDP graduates Odetta Saul and Tamara Pyatetskaya co-authored chapters in “Behavioral Science in the Global Arena: Global Health Trends and Issues”, in 2022 as part of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations (PCUN) series, which describes how evidence-based behavioral research is increasingly used by United Nations and other decision-makers to address global issues.

Odetta Saul, who is a Child Protective Specialist and current student at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service, also co-authored a chapter with Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Isom-Williams, “Racism and Mental Health: An Overview”, as well as another chapter with Daniel LeBlanc and Shenae C. Osborn, “Spiritual Health for Christians and Jews: Seeking God”.

The PDP team is honored and privileged to serve in the roles of social work educators, coaches, and supporters of our staff.

Additionally, Tamara Pyatetskaya co-authored a chapter with Marciana L. Popescu and Patricia Brownell, “Violence Against Women and Girls Across the Lifespan”. “The PDP program has been an unbelievable once in a lifetime experience that has given me the opportunity to expand my horizons and be a part of something brilliant while attending Fordham University and working on my MSW. This program gave me an opportunity to engage in multiple internships where I was lucky enough to meet many wonderful people from different parts of the Social Work world, as well as to work with a team of students on presenting on important issues on multiple global platforms. I was also fortunate enough to be able contribute to a chapter in the Behavioral Science in the Global Arena: Global Mental, Spiritual, and Social Health Text Book which was a publication of the United Nations. This experience has changed my life, it has given me the opportunity to gain useful and important knowledge as well as provide me with golden and useful key tools in moving forward in my work with Children and Families.”

Celebrations, Collaborations, and Developments

PDP coordinated and hosted a Social Work Month celebration in March 2022. The event, which honored the social work profession and acknowledged the many contributions social workers at ACS make daily was open to everyone from the agency. The theme for this year’s celebration was “The Time is ALWAYS Right for Social Work”. The program highlighted social workers from various areas of ACS who shared their narratives and the impact made in the lives of the people served, celebrating victories along the way.

Commissioner Jess Dannhauser, Deputy Commissioner William Fletcher, and Deputy Commissioner Andrew White all remarked that given the complex challenges many face daily now more than ever, social workers are needed to provide the necessary support and direction to bridge gaps and build community. The event provided opportunities for participants to learn from experienced field instructors, MSW interns, and each other as they engaged in break-out sessions. These sessions included: The Impact of Mentorship, Sharing our Narratives, Advocacy-Mobilizing Change, The Legacy of Social Work with Families and Children, Engaging the Community, What’s on Your Mind, and Self-Care. The many gifts and talents of our social workers were celebrated, and they were inspired to continue to engage in best practices and advocate for equity and social justice for all. Retired field instructors Kelly Acevedo and Cyllvia Springer were recognized and honored for their many years of service as PDP field instructors.

In June 2022, PDP hosted a virtual Celebration of Success to celebrate the educational achievements of 44 ACS staff members who graduated with their master’s degrees in Social Work, Criminal Justice and Public Administration.

Finally, 26 attended the annual International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) symposium and 52 attended the annual National Association of Social Workers (NASW) conference.

PDP entered into a new partnership with CUNY SPS and held informational sessions for the school’s newly launched BSW in Youth Studies program.

The PDP program has been an unbelievable once in a lifetime experience that has given me the opportunity to expand my horizons.

ACS Staff Supported in FY22:65 program participants

Total Degrees Supported: 44 graduates

Masters in Criminal Justice
Masters in Public Administration

Field Placements:

ACS PDP MSW placements
Non-ACS BSW Placements

Scholarships Awarded:

FY22 Scholarships awarded
for a total amount of $522,010.94
Scholarships awarded for a
total amount of $4,215,548.22