The Child Welfare Professional Development Project (CWPDP), Title IV-E Project of the School of Social Work at Stephen F. Austin State University, is in its 16th year of partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS). The Project supports the agency's efforts to ensure positive safety, permanency, and well being outcomes by enhancing the knowledge and skills of current and future Child Protective Services (CPS) workers through undergraduate and graduate education in social work and providing opportunities for foster parent and staff training.
Stephen F. Austin State University is situated to serve two regions of TDFPS, Region 04 (Tyler - 23 counties) and Region 05 (Beaumont - 15 counties). The majority of the service area is rural and the population is underserved by social workers with professional and advanced degrees. The Child Welfare Professional Development Project helps to reduce the barriers to education and training for those that strive to improve the lives of East Texas children and youth in foster care.
CWPDP offers competitive stipends to BSW and MSW students who are interested in a challenging and rewarding career serving families and children. Students must complete a Title IV-E stipend application the semester before entering their last semester of field instruction. A CPS stipend committee reviews applications, conducts interviews and awards stipends; stipend amount is contingent upon availability of funds. Upon graduation, stipend recipients commit to work for CPS for eight months in a Title IV-E position. Examples of these positions include Conservatorship, Foster/Adoption, and Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Specialists, generally, positions other than Investigation and Family Based Safety Services. Click here for more detailed information on BSW stipends and MSW stipends.
Current CPS employees are also offered opportunities to extend their professional social work education by completing an MSW degree. Employees who have been approved for the Title IV-E stipend and admitted to the MSW Program at SFA receive a stipend every fall and spring semester as they complete their degree plan; stipend amount is contingent upon availability of funds. Employees agree to four months of full time employment for each semester of stipend receipt.
L- CPS staff enjoying the conference, many of which are SFA Social Work alumni
R- Over 40 social work students volunteered at the 15th Annual Region 5 Foster and Adoptive Training Conference. Pictured are Cecile Joblin and Paige Kotlarich with Graduate Assistants, Will Windham and Anisha Burnside.
Throughout the year, CWPDP also provides training opportunities to CPS staff, foster and adoptive parents, and community providers. Project staff is currently preparing for the 16th Annual Region 5 Foster and Adoptive Training Conference to be held April 20, 2013 at the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus. There are over 15 workshops planned for the day and 8 CEU hours are being offered for LSW, LPC, TAADAC, and LCDC; for registration information, check the School of Social Works events page or contact CWPDP at (936) 468-1846, and we will be glad to help you! Below are scenes from the 2012 conference; we look forward to seeing you in 2013!
L- Imani Murigu, BSW senior field student in the CPS Nacogdoches office, was the guest speaker for the Saturday Foster Parent Awards Luncheon. She delivered a heartfelt message of recovery and hope for children in care and emphasized the positive impact of foster parents and CPS workers.
R- John and Diana Alejos along with daughter Holly Arnett, received an award for the Region 5 Basic Care Foster Family of the Year presented by (L-R) Jennifer Vincent, Ginny Judson and Mike Williams. The Alejos family went on to receive both the Texas and National Foster Family of the Year!
In addition, the Project publishes the REACHOUT Newsletter biannually. The Spring 2013 issue features important information and insightful parenting tips for minimizing the risks and keeping children in care safe when they are using the Internet and enjoying the benefits of social networking sites. MSW graduate student, Linda Gonzalez, has also featured two of the many online videos to help parents stay informed on topics such as cyber bullying, sexting and Internet predators. Foster parents across East Texas may earn one hour toward their annual required training by completing an enclosed test and returning it to their caseworker. Back issues of the REACHOUT Newsletter are available to earn additional hours.
The Project also offers individualized foster parent training through the Child Welfare Information Center, which is housed in the School of Social Work building. A toll free number (1-877-886-6707) is provided, materials are mailed with a stamped return envelope, and foster parent training hours are awarded through CWPDP. Click here for the DVD List and Video List.
Graduate Assistants, LaTisha Nobles and Linda Gonzalez, are ready to assist in the Child Welfare Information Center.
CWPDP assists School of Social Work faculty with integration of child welfare content in the BSW and MSW curriculum, which is focused on enhancing caseworker skills necessary for administering the foster care program including referral to services, preparation for and participation in judicial determinations, placement of the child, development of a case plan, case reviews, case management and supervision of the child. SFA social work students are prepared with the knowledge, skills, and professional competencies to be the future leaders of TDFPS.
For more information contact Becky Price-Mayo at (936) 468-1808 or Donna Shelton at (936) 468-4020. Ms. Price-Mayo can be reached by email at email@example.com and Ms. Shelton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School of Social Work
Child Welfare Professional Development Project (CWPDP)
420 E. Starr Ave., Suite 209
PO Box 6165
Nacogdoches, TX 75962-6165