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Social work department lands $168K grant

By Staff | Sep 30, 2011

The Shepherd University Department of Social Work has received a grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources for the 2011-12 fiscal year in the amount of $168,007. Co-principal investigators are Shepherd faculty Geri Crawley-Woods, professor of social work, and Douglas C. Horner, professor and chair of the Department of Social Work.

With this award, the social work program has secured more than $2 million in outside funding support since the contract with the West Virginia DHHR began in 1993. The grant is funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act through the West Virginia DHHR and has three primary functions. This funding supports social work students with tuition assistance during their undergraduate education. In addition, the grant provides funds for on-going training to staff and supervisors of DHHR throughout the 15-county region of eastern West Virginia and other areas of the state. The training is provided in a number of areas focusing on ethics in child welfare, substance abuse, mental health (child and adult), culturally sensitive practice, issues of separation experienced by children in foster care, engaging absent fathers and kinship care.

Horner said that 16 different trainings are held throughout the year on topics ranging from engaging absent fathers to substance use and abuse.

An additional training area is under the direction of Amy Hampton, PRIDE (Parent Resource for Information Development and Education) coordinator and regional child welfare trainer. This initiative provides a series of workshops for potential foster parents at several sites in the eastern region of the state. This training is part of a statewide effort to increase the number of potential foster and adoptive parents to meet the needs of the 3,000 children in West Virginia who are in foster care. Other schools involved in the training are West Virginia University, Marshall University, Concord University and West Virginia State University. In the last fiscal year, Hampton and her staff of several contracted trainers prepared more than 100 persons for beginning foster care service.

Hampton said that this year, the group will implement training to include new curriculum that will assist Latino families and those in the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and questioning community.

“It’s important to bring a higher level of trained public service professionals into the state and provide training to those providing care to foster children,” Horner said in a press release.

Crawley-Woods said that Hampton is the driving force in PRIDE’s success at Shepherd.

“What Amy has accomplished with this program is an outstanding example of the organizational and relational skills of a well-trained master’s of social work community social worker. Hundreds of fostering, as well as adoptive, parents have been trained. This has resulted in the increase of continuity in the lives of the children of West Virginia who are in foster care, both in terms of their connections with their birth families and the stability of their placements with foster families,” Crawley-Woods said.