Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Centers & Institutes

The School of Social Work faculty and students engage in research across a range of disciplines through institutes, centers, and programs, as represented by those described below.

C-First - Center For Field Innovation, Research, Strategy, And Training
C-FIRST engages community-based interventions and practice-based research that supports the sustainable implementation of innovative interventions to meet the unique challenges faced by organizations, clinicians, and students across Chicago and suburban communities.  
Visit the C-First website.
CIRA - Center for Immigrant & Refugee Accompaniment
The Center for Immigrant and Refugee Accompaniment (CIRA) is a new initiative of the School of Social Work to support the formation of social work professionals that, in solidarity, can accompany migrants in the construction of a more inclusive local and global community that affirms the human dignity of the person.
Visit the CIRA website.
Empowering Counseling Program - Participatory Science Initiative
Loyola’s Empowering Counseling Program (ECP) serves youth of color and their families residing in low-income Chicago communities, providing free after-school and summer program services, trauma-focused mental health care in schools and community agencies, and street-based social work to support participants and link them with resources. Services include advocacy for redress of human rights violations related to poverty and prejudice and focus on uplifting the strengths and cultural wealth of participants. Social work students are supported in fulfilling the passion for social justice that leads them to be social workers, and in discovering their unique creative strengths as social workers. The Participatory Science Initiative engages youth and caregivers as co-researchers to improve social services and social policies based on participants’ cultural values of mutual uplift via collective support and care. Problems for research and program evaluation originate with priorities expressed by youth and caregivers, and research is carried out in ways participants deem valid and valuable. Presentations and publications are co-authored, co-presented, and vetted by youth. Since 2006, and thanks to the generosity of many community partners and local, state, and federal funders, the ECP has served over 1000 youth in Chicago’s communities of color that experience low income and educated 60 social work interns in participatory social work practice and research. The ECP-PSI has yielded numerous publications, presentations, and several dissertations to advance participatory anti-racist social work research and advocacy, co-authored with youth, as can be seen on our program website.

Visit the Program's website.

Access PSI and publications.

FCTI - Fostering Connections Training Institute
Fostering Connections engages caregivers/child welfare professionals, and adult mentors and foster parents in trainings focused on building skills toward improving relationships with youth in care. The training curriculum (which constitutes two models, including the Mentoring FAN and TIP), provides participants with evidence-informed approaches to relationship development and psychological self- sufficiency, which can lead to higher quality relationships and improved goal achievement.
Visit the FCTI webpage