Carolyn Kelley


An Integrative Approach to Addressing Homelessness, Economic Inequality, and Financial Capability in Social Work Education


The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI) will be introduced, focusing on the interconnectedness of three challenges; end homelessness, reduce extreme economic inequality, and build financial capability and assets for all. The presentation will center on the three challenges, outlining the importance of incorporating skills to address these challenges within a social work curriculum. A conceptual map will be presented to outline the three capstone products. The challenges will first be introduced in an overview of the systematic literature review, highlighting supportive literature and the conclusions drawn from gaps in literature. The interconnectedness of the challenges will then be further explored and conceptualized through usage of anti-oppressive theory. A proposal for practice application will be provided, tying in the usage of literature and theory to ground practice. The final capstone product will present a proposal for incorporating the three grand challenges into a curriculum in order to expand student knowledge and practice skill in working with underserved and low-income clients and communities.


Carolyn E. Kelley holds a degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master of Social Work, and is currently a DSW Candidate. Certifications include a School Social Work Certification and Certified Case Manager.

Carolyn started her social work journey in clinical practice at Community Mental Health Centers in Western and Central Kentucky. Experience within these two clinical practices provided the opportunity for Carolyn to work within school settings and closely with a multidisciplinary team.

More recently Carolyn has been in the role of Behavioral Health Care Manager and Behavioral Health Clinical Liaison, serving Medicaid and Medicare eligible Kentuckians. Her experience working with individuals and families that are underserved and oftentimes lack access to adequate income and resources sparked a passion in Carolyn to help bridge a gap within healthcare services and economic needs.

This has lead Carolyn to center her Captsone Project around the Grand Challenges for Social Work of End Homelessness, Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality, and Build Financial Capability and Assets for All.

Carolyn’s Captsone Project includes a systematic literature review exploring the extent to which homelessness, economic inequality, and financial capability have been implemented in social work education. Carolyn conceptualized the three Grand Challenges, looking at their interconnectedness and interweaving an anti-oppressive theory lens. Lastly, in order to help fill a gap in literature and practice, Carolyn proposed a curriculum integrating the three Grand Challenges into social work education as a means to directly impact future student practice and tackle issues of economic inequality and homelessness.