UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

September 5, 2001
Susan Beasy Latto, Director of Public Relations 218 726-8830
Dennis Falk, Project Director and Chief Investigator 218 726-8862
Priscilla Day, Head, Dept. of Social Work and Project Co-Investigator 218 726-7221

UMD Department of Social Work Receives $2 Million Contract
Child Welfare Training Project
Focuses on American Indian Families

The UMD Department of Social Work has received a $2 million contract from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to provide child welfare training to workers who serve at-risk children and their families through county and tribal agencies in Northern Minnesota. Funding for the UMD Child Welfare Training Project comes from federal Title IV-E funds and requires that UMD provide local matching resources for the Project.

Under the grant the UMD Department of Social Work will focus on meeting identified child welfare training needs in Northern Minnesota. UMD, through its Masters of Social Work program, will better prepare social work students to more effectively respond to reports of child abuse and neglect while working with public and tribal social service agencies. A top priority will be to prepare culturally competent child welfare practitioners who can work effectively with American Indian families and other families of color.

Other priorities of the Project include promoting best practices in child welfare, addressing the special issues of providing competent child welfare services in rural areas, and developing collaboration among child welfare agencies (focusing particularly on tribal/county cooperation). Professor Dennis Falk is director and principal investigator for the Project. Associate Professor Priscilla Day is co-investigator and head of the Department of Social Work. During the past four years the UMD Department of Social Work has strongly integrated child welfare content into its curriculum and has developed a special focus on working with American Indian children and their families.

Several organizations are partnering with the UMD Department of Social Work to provide local resources as a match for the Title IV-E funding:

  • The UMD College of Education and Human Service Professions, the UMD Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration, and the Ruth Myers Endowed Chair in Indian Education at UMD provide funding.
  • The National Indian Child Welfare Association, Bemidji State University, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, and the Arrowhead University Center in Hibbing provide important resources.
  • Partner social service agencies in the community include Community Action Duluth, St. Louis County Social Services, First Witness, and East Hillside PATCH.
  • The Indian reservations at Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, and Leech Lake provide important support.
  • A grant from the Bush Foundation supports the UMD Department of Social WorkÃs efforts to enhance American Indian Child Welfare Training.
  • The Move the Mountain Leadership Center supports the Project's activities related to cultural competencies.

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