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Sunny Harris Rome, MSW, JD

Department of Social Work

Sunny Harris Rome

Sunny Harris Rome is a Professor in the Department of Social Work. She has previously served as the Department's BSW Program Director, MSW Program Director, and Chair. Prior to joining the faculty, she worked as a litigator for the U.S. Department of Education and as a lobbyist for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She teaches courses on social policy, legislative advocacy, social work and the law, forensic social work practice, and community change. She is the author of the textbook, Social Work and Law: Judicial Policy & Forensic Practice, is the 2011 recipient of the College of Health & Human Service's Master Teacher Award for Senior Faculty, and was named Virginia Social Work Educator of the Year in 2012. 

Professor Rome's research interests focus on the intersection of social work and law, specifically in the areas of child welfare and immigration. She is a Faculty Fellow with the Cochrane Collaboration College for Policy, under whose auspices she is completing a project on the mental health status of immigrant children and youth. She serves on the Editorial Boards of The Journal of Policy Practice, The Journal of Teaching in Social Work, and the Journal of Social Work Education, and is a frequent presenter at professional conferences.  Her research on youth aging out of the foster care system was featured at a Briefing for state and local child welfare administrators, researchers, practitioners, judges, and policymakers. 

Professor Rome is a tireless advocate for social work involvement in policy practice. She was an original member of the Steering Committee for the Policy Practice Forum and is active in community, state, and national organizations, having served on NASW's Legal Defense Fund Board of Trustees, Virginia NASW's Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) Board of Directors, the Governor's Work Group on Therapeutic Foster Care, and Fairfax County's Community Action Advisory Board.


  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1984
  • MSW, Social Work, University of Michigan, 1978
  • BA Magna Cum Laude, Psychology, Occidental College, Phi Beta Kappa, 1976