Department of Social Work at The U receives training grant

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s Department of Social Work is among 12 in the country to receive a federal grant to train social workers to serve in agencies that help children.

The $440,000 federal grant will provide stipends to students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work who agree to serve in a child welfare agency upon graduation. The funding also will provide specific training to meet the needs of the children and families helped by those agencies.

“This is a great opportunity for our program to be able to help people who are interested in helping children as well as those already at these agencies who want to complete a college degree,” said Charles Schwartz, Ph.D., MSW, associate professor and chair of the Social Work Program. “It will be especially helpful in areas where the need for more providers is most critical, including rural areas and Indian reservations in South Dakota.”

USD will receive $110,000 annually for four years with the stipends and training beginning next fall.

Schwartz gave credit to Debra Norris, Ed.D, assistant professor of social work, for writing an excellent grant proposal. Norris is the principal investigator on the grant.

The Child Welfare Traineeship Grant was awarded by the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, which was created in the fall of 2008 by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Institute’s goal is to improve outcomes for children and families by developing a larger workforce of skilled child welfare leaders across the country.

In addition to stipends and training, the grant will focus on strengthening the Social Work Program’s child welfare curricula and ensuring timely graduation by students.