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SSW Achieves Leadership Roles in National Centers to Improve Child Well-Being


The University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) has obtained federal funding to establish what becomes the nation's first center for evidence-based practice in child welfare and to continue leadership in the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI), the School has announced.

The School's Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children (RYC) has been awarded a five-year, $5 million cooperative agreement from the Administration of Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Children's Bureau to establish the National Center on Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare, which is the first such center to be established.

The center, which launched operations on Sept. 30, aims to build the capacity of child welfare services staff, clinical mental health service providers, and child welfare and mental health agency leadership. The intent is to better identify and assess the effects of trauma and maltreatment on children and youth and to apply evidence-based treatments and services to enhance children's well-being.

Leslie Rozeff, MSSW, above, director of the RYC's Child Welfare Academy, serves as the new center's director and principal investigator; SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, is co-PI.

The HHS also recently awarded $800,000 in funding from the Children's Bureau to clinical professor Nancy Dickinson, PhD, MSSW, to direct continuation of the NCWWI.

In the photo below, Rozeff is seated in the front row with, left to right, Geetha Gopalan, PhD, fidelity researcher; Kantahyanee Murray, PhD, MA,, evaluation director; and Randi Walters, PhD, Children's Bureau federal project officer. In the back row, left to right, are Angela Jachelski, MSW, curriculum specialist; Barth; Dickinson; Jill Carter, MS, senior instructional technology specialist; and Emily Lee, MSW, division manager.

SSW
staff at centers


The National Center staff brings extensive, dynamic expertise in the design, development, and implementation of training systems and in the implementation and evaluation of child welfare and evidence-based services. Additional key staff not pictured include Christine Arena, MSW Jennifer Mettrick, MHS, MS; and Susan Loysen, MSW, serving as implementation leads with selected jurisdictions.

The SSW is partnering with colleagues from the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavorial Sciences and the University of Colorado School of Medicine Kempe Center-in the design and implementation of the National Center activities.

"I am delighted to have the School of Social Work recognized for its expertise in child welfare and evidence-based practice and to be the recipient of this historic award," said Barth. "I am optimistic that under the direction of Leslie Rozeff, who has been a leader in child welfare training for numerous years, we will create benefit that will endure well beyond the five years of this award and encourage the HHS to renew this cooperative agreement."

Barth noted that Rozeff has worked intensively with states implementing systemic reforms and practice improvements utilizing implementation science through her work with the Atlantic Coast Child Welfare Implementation Center (ACCWIC), which is also based at the School's RYC.

"We are very excited about this opportunity to jointly work with child welfare and children's behavioral health systems to provide professional development and implementation support that will result in the adoption of evidence-based practices," said Rozeff. "Our goal is to create sustainable local capacity across the workforce that will ultimately enhance child and family well-being."

In regard to the continuing work of the NCWWI, the subcontract to UM SSW is for Dickinson's continued project direction -- she served as project director of NCWWI during an earlier five years of funding. Altogether six universities will implement activities that focus on workforce development of public, private, and tribal child welfare organizations and their leadership development.

Participants in addition to the lead organization, which is the School of Social Welfare at the University of Albany, are the University of Southern Maine, Michigan State University, Portland State University, and the University of Denver.

The Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children, named in honor of the retired dean of the School, Ruth H. Young (1944-2009), was established in 2006 to house a growing portfolio of efforts to promote the safety, permanence, stability, and well-being of children, youth, and families.

Among others, these programs include the ACCWIC; the nationally replicated Family Connections and Grandparent Family Connections; the Child Welfare Academy, which provides training, technical assistance, and professional development to state's child welfare professionals and resource parents; and the Education for Public Child Welfare Program, otherwise known as the Title IV-E Program. The latter provides direct mentored experience for Master's in Social Work students preparing for employment in public child welfare practice.
Posting Date: 11/06/2013
Contact Name: Patricia Fanning
Contact Phone: 410-706-7946
Contact Email: pfanning@umaryland.edu