Al Dirschberger is a regular contributor with his articles from prison. You can read his articles with the following links:
- Five Years in Prison
- Coping with Struggles
- Thanksgiving Wishes
- Develop a Successful Attitude
- Christmas Wishes
If anyone would like to write Dr. Al Dirschberger directly, his contact information follows:
Al Dirschberger / 555 Devils Den Road / P.O. Box 3000 / Altoona, NY 12910
June 2009 Ph. D. in Social Welfare-University at Buffalo Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work-Concentration in Residential Treatment
May 1999 Master’s in Social Work (MSW), University at Buffalo
Major in Social Work; concentration in community social work Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), March 2000
May 1997 BS in Human Services/Child & Youth Service-Medaille College-Cum Laude
HUMAN SERVICES EXPERIENCE
Erie County Department of Social Services Commissioner, March 2015-December 2017 Lead the department of social services 1500 employees and $650 million dollar budget to
provide temporary assistance to eligible individuals and families, provides protective services to vulnerable adults and children, and provide related programs to assist residents of Erie County to lead, safe, healthy, and independent lives.
Executive Director Journey’s End, December 2014-March 2015
Overall responsibility in providing guidance and direction for services in refugee resettlement and immigration services.
Vice President of Residential Services-Gateway Longview, Inc.-July 2002- December 2014 Ensure all children and families in residential services, which include residential treatment, group homes, agency operated boarding homes, mother/baby homes, and supervised independent living receive the highest quality clinical and child care services in
accordance with their individual needs. Work collaboratively with other Department Heads within the Division to ensure effective treatment teaming and delivery of services consistent with holistic planning and implementation. Assist in the development of a well considered agency budget of $22 million dollars designed to meet program and agency needs. Ensure operations within that budget. Manage job functions within established financial limits. Serve as Chair of all Clinical Meetings
Administrative Director Research & Development-Gateway-Longview, Inc.-Sept.2000-July 2002 Establish R & D project proposals, which include; the purpose of project, costs of project, as well as equipment and human resource requirements. Review and analyze proposal outcomes to determine if benefits derived justify expenditures. Develop and implement methods and procedures or monitoring projects such as cost/benefit analyses and research findings, and complete progress reports, in order to inform management of status of each project. Supervise
Assessment Services, Continuous Quality Improvement, Program Marketing, Strategic Planning/Mapping, Program Grants, R & D Internships, and Program Prototypes.
Assistant Director Residential Education-Gateway Longview, Inc. – July 1998-Spetember 2000 Coordinate and assure effective day-to-day implementation by staff of each client’s educational treatment plan and programming within the educational component of the Residential Treatment Program. Directly responsible for teacher aides/assistants and
crisis staff in assuring their performance meets the needs educationally of children in placement. Interview and train educational staff. Initiate grant proposals consistent with client needs and assume responsibility for monitoring and documenting all federal grant expenditures. Co-facilitate group counseling sessions to address various mental health issues.
Director of Residential Activities-Gateway Longview, Inc.-July 1992-July 1998 Ensure the highest quality recreational services and job skills training for youth
in accordance with individual needs. Work collaboratively with other department administrators to provide effective treatment teaming and delivery of services.
Child Care Supervisor-Gateway Longview, Inc.-July 1989-July 1992
Developed an effective functioning cottage life program. As a member of a primary treatment team developed and implemented individual treatment plan for youth.
Interviewed and hired new staff and provided in-service training.
Crisis Aide-Gateway Longview, Inc.-July 1987-July 1989
Assisted educational treatment team in behavioral management of 57 residential students. Assured effective and consistent supervision of time-out and in-school suspension areas.
Head Women’s Softball Coach-Niagara University-September 1990-Present
Implement a philosophical and ethical Division 1 softball program, within the regulations of the NCAA and Niagara University. Organize daily practice sessions, game day strategies and yearly training program. Develop skilled and proficient student athletes.
Actively recruit student-athletes. Led Team to First MAAC Championship and NCAA Tournament Appearance in 1998.
Erie Community College, Fall 2008-Fall 2015 Serve as Coordinator of the Human Services Certificate Program. Teach courses designed to meet the qualifications for an Associate Degree in Social Sciences and courses toward a certificate in Human Services. Courses include Intro to Human Services, Theories of Counseling, Human Services Field Placement, Human Interactions, Social Problems, Marriage and Family.
Serve as Faculty Advisor for “Active Mind” club. Active Minds brings attention to Mental Health issues of College Students. Conducted activities that included a Mental Health
Awareness Day and Depression Screening Day for all ECC Students.
History of Social Welfare-Baccalaureate Curriculum, Six Sections, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2007, Spring 2008 Niagara University. This course focused on analysis of the emergence and development of the social welfare state. Historical phenomena provided a variety of useful paradigms with which students examined why certain events happened, how they happened, and the consequence(s) of their occurrence. A political-economic framework was used to analyze the American response or non-response to social problems.
Human Behavior and the Social Environment I-Baccalaureate Curriculum, Spring 2004, Niagara University- explored the complex reciprocal interactions between individuals and social systems from birth through young adulthood. Students had the opportunities to critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of various biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual theories and assess their applicability to diverse cultural groups.
Fundamentals of Child and Family Law-Baccalaureate Curriculum, One Section, Fall 2002, Medaille College-served as adjunct professor for a professor on sabbatical. The course provided an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in the areas of child and family law, the social change, which are reflected therein, and the extent to which legal concerns affect family life.
Program Planning and Administration-Baccalaureate Curriculum, 5 Sections, Fall 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, Summer 2003, Medaille College- The course provided an examination and analysis of public and private human services and nonprofit agencies and their relationship with government and each other. Pertinent legislation is traced from inception to implementation. The manner in which a program (agency level) is planned, funded, and implemented was discussed in depth as well as identifying the political, social, and personal pressures affecting policy formation.
Intro to Political Science, Baccalaureate Curriculum, Fall 2004, Medaille College- Introduction to Political Science focused on political theory and its application to individuals, nations, and the international arena.
Dynamics of Interviewing, Baccalaureate Curriculum, Two Sections, Medaille College- The course provided students with an in-depth study and application of interviewing in Human Service agencies. The students learned the purpose and mechanics of the interview. Skill application was stressed using an Interpersonal Model, which is relevant to an understanding of the interviewing process.
Social Psychology-Baccalaureate Curriculum, One Section, Fall 2005, Medaille College-the course focused on how an individual’s behaviors, feelings, and thoughts are influenced, or determined, by genes, the behaviors and/or characteristics of others. Topics covered include attraction and love, prejudice, attitudes, conformity, altruistic behaviors, and aggression.
Theories of Counseling, Baccalaureate Curriculum, Two Sections Fall 2002, Medaille College- served as an adjunct professor for a professor on sabbatical- The course concentrated on the counseling process looking at the history of counseling, major counseling theories (psychoanalytic, learning, and self theory), and some of the applied psychotherapies such as gestalt, Rational/Emotive, Transactional Analysis, and Client-Centered (Rogers).
Social Welfare Policy & Programs-Graduate Curriculum, Three Sections, Summer 2000, 2002 This course provided students with an introduction to the historical and philosophical bases of the American social welfare and social work as well as a comprehensive view of the American welfare state, with special emphasis on policies and programs directly affecting the low income population groups.
Program Evaluation-Graduate Curriculum, Summer 2001, State University at Buffalo- This course provided students with a foundation with methods and techniques to critically monitor and evaluate the process and outcomes of social service programs, with the primary goal of improving those programs. Students conducted a program evaluation at their assigned internship agency. Major topics include theories of program, evaluation, evaluation design, types of evaluation, measurement, sampling, data collection, data analysis, and utilization of findings.
Social Services to Children-Graduate Curriculum, Fall 2001, State University at Buffalo-examined the history, theory, values, goals, and policies in the field of social work practice with children, youth and families. Programs relative to intervention with families referred for child welfare services were examined, including traditional approaches such as child protection, foster care, adoption, and permanency planning, as well as newer approaches to prevent out-of-home placement (community and family-centered practice, family preservation, and preventive services.
Faculty Liaison to Field Internship, Fall 2000 and Spring 2001, State University at Buffalo- Supervised field placements for twelve MSW students. Assisted with difficulties at sites and provided support to field educators.
Field Educator to MSW Interns, Fall 2003, Spring 2003, Fall 2004, Spring 2004, Fall 2005- State University at Buffalo- provides students with the opportunity to integrate and apply the social work theories, skills, and values they are learning via coursework in a practice setting. Provide clinical supervision once a week.
Gateway-Longview, January 2010-2011
Co-Authored a $1,000 Pilot Grant through Baldy Center For Law and Social Policy for an evaluation of a multi-agency initiative established to deliver services in a poor Buffalo neighborhood.
Families United, October 2003-October 2005
Co-Authored a $1,000,000 Grant through SAMHSA, CSAP Prevention Model Program for At- Risk Pregnant Minority Teenage Parents. Served as project evaluator.
Strengthening Families Program, January 2000-March 2001
Research Foundation at University at Buffalo, served as research assistant-administer instruments, input data, and analyze reports.
NYS Child Care Retention Grant, September 2001-September 2002
Authored $75,000 grant to enhance child-care worker retention within Gateway-Longview, Inc. Residential Treatment Program. Served as Program Administrator, and Project Evaluator.
New York Public Welfare Association (NYPWA) Member-NYPWA is a dynamic partnership of local social services districts dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of social welfare policy.
Raise the Age representative to NYSAC-New York State Association of Counties. Assist NYS in the planning and implementation or raising criminal responsibility for 16 and 17 year olds.
Help Me Grow Executive Board Member-HMGWNY enables young children to thrive by linking families and caregivers to information and community resources.
First 1000 Days on Medicaid Initiative, NYPWA representative to New York State work group focused on better health and life outcomes.
NYSAC Raise The Age Task Group representing Erie County
Former Board of Directors Ed Block Courage Foundation, Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children and ending the cycle of abuse. The purpose is to raise Awareness and Prevention of child abuse. That objective is coupled with the Foundation’s commitment to celebrating players of inspiration in the NFL.
Former Chair of Ed Block Courage Network, Coordinate communication with the Ed Block Courage Foundation and the 22 National Courage Houses. Represent Courage Houses needs to the Foundation.
Former Board of Management-Northeast YMCA, September 2012-2017, Participate in oversight of YMCA, Participate on the Program Committee.
New York State Restraint Reduction Database, September 2005-2017, Developed a tracking mechanism for child welfare agencies conducting restraints.
New York State Ad Hoc Committee on Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP), June 2005, Review and update New York State OCFS and Family Services SILP Regulations.
Erie County Hard to Serve Committee, September 2005-2017, Committee composed of representatives of governmental and private agencies designed to provide a safety net for youth who would otherwise be at significant risk of harm because appropriate services cannot be accessed.
Connections Implementation Coordinator, January 2005-2009, Coordinate the implementation of State Wide Documentation System for Gateway-Longview, Inc. with New York State and Erie County.
Cultural Competency Committee, October 2005-2017, Committee on cultural competence in
WRAP Services for Child Welfare Agencies in Erie County.
YMCA Board of Management, provide assistance/guidance to the Amherst YMCA. NATIONAL/PROFESSIONAL
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Member
American Psychology Association (APA) Member September 2012- 2017
Team Leader Peer Reviewer-Council on Accreditation, September 2003-2017, Review Child Welfare Agencies for National Accreditation.
Community Health Foundation Fellowship-Leadership Development Program