Working to transform the child welfare system.

Student Spotlight: David Perlmutter

David grew up in Miami, Florida, and has lived all over the country for the last ten years. As a “proud multiple-college ‘stop-out,” he attended Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, for two years out of high school. Later, after a few gap years, he returned to Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, to finish his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Development. He is currently enrolled in a dual degree program and will be graduating with a Master’s of Socal Work and a Master’s of Public Health in Health Services. In addition to working at P4C, he holds a research assistant position at UW, helping to coordinate two research projects, one that adapts evidence-based medical services to first responder programs and another that is developing an intervention to reduce bias towards people using drugs among first responders.

David joined P4C in the summer of 2021 and is doing the advanced practicum for his MSW on Dr. Angelique Day’s team, working on research and evaluation projects. Lately, he has worked on a series of small evaluation reports regarding training on kinship caregiving and kinship navigation and previously has worked on qualitative coding for larger reports like the evaluation of the National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents. David was drawn to P4C because of the specific practicum role and its explicit focus on program evaluation and research. “I see P4C as positioned at a unique and important nexus between generating evidence on innovative approaches to social work and child welfare, then translating those findings into concrete programmatic and policy changes. In addition to that, I see this practicum as an opportunity to develop fundamental research and evaluation skills, like working with data, writing about research for a variety of audiences, and navigating the political and social landscape of working with diverse stakeholder groups.” He hopes that the child welfare system can continue to divorce itself from its historical role as a site of governmentality that reconstructs and legitimizes family separation, social stratification, and other manifestations of white supremacy. “As a person who is fairly new to this specific field, I find it encouraging that P4C is willing to host discussions about the abolition of the child welfare system and facilitate discussion among its staff in a way that implicates itself.”

Outside of P4C, David likes hiking, cycling, running, camping, skiing, and spending time outdoors, preferably with his dog Rascal. His three best words to describe himself: Likes. Drinking. Coffee. Recently, he has been on a language kick and spends his time practicing Spanish and learning the basics of French. After graduating and before entering the workforce, David plans to walk about 500 miles across Spain on the Camino De Santiago and then backpack through Portugal and other parts of Europe.