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 18th 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, Precious Valdez 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 training article for the Spring 2015 issue, "Supporting Your LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents", offers guidance to parents in providing a safe, supportive and welcoming home and to help LGBTQ youth manage the unique challenges they face. 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. MSW graduate student, Dharti Patel, has also featured resources for foster and adoptive parents to support their youth, which are now available for check out. These resources 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_Oct_2014.pdf.

Scenes from the 17th Annual Region 5 Foster Adoptive Training Conference held on the SFA campus, April 11-12, 2014

In addition, the 18th Annual Region 5 Foster Adoptive Training Conference will be offering 19 workshops over a two day period. The 2015 pre-conference will be held on Friday, April 10 for CPS and child placing agency staff; on Saturday April 11, East Texas foster/adoptive parents will enjoy a day of learning, while their children attend the Youth Extravaganza organized by CPS staff and the Region 5 Foster Parent Association Council. MSW Graduate Assistants, Dharti Patel and Precious Valdez, are busy coordinating workshop presenters and recruiting volunteers, as we look forward to the invaluable assistance our social work students provide each year!

Social work student volunteers receiving Youth Extravaganza training from CPS FAD Specialist, April Barker and Shaquillia Cooks.

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