School Social Work and Sex Education: Expanding School-Based Partnerships to Better Realize Professional Objectives

Nov 6, 2019

c and s cover 2019-10School-based social work and sex education are both intended to provide education and services designed to support the healthy emotional and physical development of youths. However, school social work and sex education have been developed and implemented largely in parallel to one another, with little attention paid to the similarities of their objectives or potential for interdisciplinary partnership.

In a recent issue of the journal Children & Schools, published by NASW Press and Oxford University Press, researchers published an article concerning this topic. The article explores the intersections of these two disciplines and their limitations and strengths through a comparative policy analysis of the national school social work practice model and the Personal Responsibility Education Program. The authors argue that school social workers can and should be actively engaged in school-based sex education and that doing so would help increase the capacity of school social workers and sex educators to realize their professional objectives.

The authors also provide practical resources related to facilitating greater collaboration between sex education and school social work.


Study authors:

David M. McCarty-Caplan, PhD, is assistant professor of social work and Shannon MacLaren, MSW, is an MSW alumna, California State University at Northridge. Address correspondence to David M. McCarty-Caplan, California State University at Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Sierra Hall 208, Northridge, CA 91330; e-mail:


The journal Social Work is a benefit of NASW membership. It is available online or, at a member’s request, in print. Children & Schools, Health & Social Work and Social Work Research are available by subscription at a discounted rate for NASW members, either online or in print. You can find out more about the journals and subscriptions at NASW Press.