I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think its a good thing, promotes educating social workers which we all know is important. However other career students have to pay for their schooling, why shouldn’t they? Then again there is a shortage in good social workers, its hard to find people for that position, its a toughie. Any comments? I’d love to hear from you.
by Liz Frantz
Monday, October 1, 2007
The recently developed Public Child Welfare Training Program in the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work will pay students’ tuition in exchange for a promise that, upon graduation, the students will work in Wisconsin’s public child welfare system for at least one year.
The program would cover the cost of a Master’s degree for social work students.
UW’s School of Social Work is consistently ranked among the best schools in the country.
“Jobs graduates usually take after graduation are in children’s protective services, special needs adoption and foster care,” Susan Michaud, a social work lecturer and CWTP coordinator said. “But there are never enough people willing to work in children’s protective services, so we continue to educate and train people to enter that line of work in the CWTP program.”
The program aims to combat inadequate professional preparation by requiring all trainees to complete a specialized curriculum aimed at preparation for employment. This program is intended to help students develop into superior child welfare specialists.
“Training and education includes rigorous coursework, as well as field placement in public child welfare agencies, such as the Rock and Dane County Human Services,” Michaud said.
The child welfare training program admits between 12 and 15 students each year and accepts up to 120 students overall, according to the School of Social Work’s website.
Using federal funds distributed by the state Department of Health and Family Services, the seven-year-old program is making strides toward filling more and more open social work positions in Wisconsin, Michaud said.
Michaud believes that if students get a high-quality education in public child welfare, they are more likely to continue on into a career in child welfare services as well.
National studies show child welfare workers are most likely to leave the field within the first two years, often because they are insufficiently prepared for what they will experience on the job, according to a UW press release.
Jill Kvigney, a UW alumnus and CWTP participant, said her field studies in child abuse investigation left her very well prepared for a future career in child welfare.
“It gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about child welfare work in a non-threatening work environment,” Kvigney said. “I was able to not worry about my paycheck or my boss, and just take in the information every day.”
Kvigney added the program was an incredible learning experience, which was made more effective by the time she spent in child welfare agencies.
Candace Harrison, a UW alumnus and former CWTP member, added the overall goal of the program is to prepare trainees in the child welfare field for their future careers.
“In my experience, I can say that the classes I took in the program provided me with a profound knowledge base for my future career,” Harrison said.
Michaud said the most satisfying thing about being involved in the UW School of Social Work’s CWTP program is keeping track of graduated students’ careers in child welfare.
“It’s very gratifying to see the vast majority of former participants stay in public welfare, and to see them happy and fulfilled in their professions,” Michaud said.