Aimed at Preventing Child Abuse and Helping Families-in-Crisis
The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Department of Social Work has been notified that it is one of only five universities in the country to receive a $400,000 grant from the United States Children's Bureau. The purpose of the grant is to enhance the training of Masters of Social Work (MSW) students for employment in critical placements such as tribal and/or public sector child welfare settings.
Beginning in October, 2004, the grant will provide $100,000 per year for the next four years to develop the UMD department's child welfare curriculum, and to recruit and financially support students, especially students of color. A special emphasis will be placed on enhancing the field internship program. Other priorities of the grant are: to increase the number of rural and tribal field placements, and to develop supervisor training models that will include on-line training.
"The UMD Department of Social Work has become a leader in educating MSW students for effective intervention in families where child maltreatment has occurred. Receiving this grant recognizes that leadership position, and will further enhance our ability to prepare child welfare practitioners who will promote safety for at-risk children in Northern Minnesota." said Professor Dennis Falk, UMD Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project director.
The grant project is entitled Child Welfare Curriculum and Field Enhancement (CW CAFÉ). It will build upon the existing Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project and the American Indian Family Preservation Project, (the latter is funded by a separate Children's Bureau grant.)
The UMD Department of Social Work has developed training partnerships with 18 counties and reservations throughout Northern Minnesota. Their primary mission is to prepare skilled, culturally competent, MSW social workers to work in county and tribal agencies serving at-risk children and their families. This mission is consistent with the federal government's concern with providing child welfare workers with the expertise needed to address the complex challenges of child maltreatment and its prevention. Failure to meet these challenges has been viewed as a national crisis, and the Department of Social Work has focused its energies on addressing this critical need.
The CW CAFÉ grant is one of many external child welfare grants obtained by the UMD Department of Social Work, totaling approximately $8,000,000 during the past 8 years. Besides providing scholarships to over 160 MSW students, these funds have helped support outreach with American Indian communities. For example, in conjunction with the UMD Department of Social Work's American Indian Projects, community-based cultural and language institutes have been developed to prepare future child welfare workers with meaningful training in working with American Indian families and children.
The CW CAFÉ project team includes Johanna Garrison, Project Director and Curriculum Development Coordinator; Kathy Heltzer, Field Coordinator; Anne Tellett, Cultural Competence Coordinator; Becki Hornung, Student Support Coordinator; Karen Preston, Associate Administrator; Mary Simon, Account Specialist; Denny Falk, Primary Evaluator; and Elizabeth Blue, Evaluation Consultant. Mike Raschick, as Department Head, is the designated Principal Investigator.