Stephen F. Austin State University

Child Welfare Professional Development Project

Child Welfare Professional Development Project (CWPDP)

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 19th 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 Stipend_Flyer-BSW.pdf and Stipend-Flyer-MSW.pdf.

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, BreAnna Hall and Dharti Patel, 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 2015 issue offers important information for parenting the adopted preschooler. It is designed to help parents understand developmental needs and provide practical strategies to promote a warm and loving relationship with their child. Foster parents across East Texas may earn one hour toward their required training by completing an enclosed test and returning it to their caseworker. MSW graduate assistant, Dharti Patel, has also featured resources on adoption of young children. These books and DVDs 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 CWIC_DVD_Master_List_August_2015.pdf

Scenes from the 18th Annual Region 5 Foster Adoptive Training Conference held on the SFA campus, April 11-12, 2015

In addition, the 18th 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 11 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, Dharti Patel, coordinated workshop presenters while Precious Valdez 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 15-16, 2016. For registration details, check the School of Social Work events page in March 2016, and remember to save the date for this social work CEU opportunity.

For more information contact Becky Price-Mayo at (936) 468-1808 or Carol Levine at (936) 468-5105. Ms. Price-Mayo can be reached by email at and Ms. Levine can be reached at

Contact Information:

School of Social Work

Child Welfare Professional Development Project (CWPDP)

420 E. Starr Ave., Suite 209

PO Box 6165

Nacogdoches, TX 75962-6165