The Child Welfare Professional Development Project (CWPDP), Title IV-E program of the School of Social Work at Stephen F. Austin State University, is in its 17th 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. 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. Employees agree to four months of full time employment for each semester of stipend receipt.
Graduate Assistants, Destiny Peters and Linda Gonzalez, are ready to assist in the Child Welfare Information Center.
Throughout the year, CWPDP provides training opportunities to CPS staff, foster and adoptive parents, and community providers. Project staff publishes the REACHOUT Newsletter biannually. The Fall 2013 issue focuses on the unique challenges for youth exiting foster care, adolescent development and changes in the brain, as well as the critical role of foster and adoptive parents. MSW graduate student, Linda Gonzalez, has also featured resources to support foster parents in preparing their youth for adult life and two new Foster Parent College DVDs, which are now available for check out. Back issues of the REACHOUT Newsletter are available to earn additional hours. Individualized foster parent training is also available through the Child Welfare Information Center; a toll free number (1-877-886-6707) is provided, materials are mailed with a stamped return envelope, and training hours are awarded through CWPDP. Click here for the DVD List and Video List.
Scenes from the 16th Annual Region 5 Foster Adoptive Training Conference held on the SFA campus, April 20-21, 2013
In addition, the 16th Annual Region 5 Foster Adoptive Training Conference offered 18 workshops over a two day period. A pre-conference was held on Friday for CPS and child placing agency staff and on Saturday, foster/adoptive parents came from over 16 East Texas counties to enjoy a day of learning, while the children attended the Youth Extravaganza organized by CPS staff and the Region 5 Foster Parent Association Council. MSW Graduate Assistant, LaTisha Nobles, coordinated workshop presenters while Linda Gonzalez recruited over 35 student volunteers. Many thanks to SFA social work students who played a vital role in the success of the conference! Next year's conference will be held April 11-12, 2014. For registration details, check the School of Social Work events web page in March 2014, and remember to save the date for this social work CEU opportunity.
Conference photographer and BSW Volunteer, Debbie Vestal
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