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Victor K. Groza, PhD

The Mandel School has received a four-year, $588,000 grant from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute to provide tuition to 20 social workers from child welfare agencies, expanding the Child Welfare Fellows scholarship and educational training program to seven additional Ohio counties (Medina, Stark, Ashtabula, Geauga, Richfield, Huron and Trumbull) in addition to Cuyahoga, Summit and Lake counties.

The goal is to increase the number of public child welfare workers with master-level social work training. Such advance training allows them to learn new practices in their field, from investigating hotline calls about child abuse to assisting children who age out of the foster program at 18.

The school will also will provide an additional $969,538 to offset tuition costs not covered by the grant for the Child Welfare Fellows program.

Applications, with a leadership essay, must be received before April 1. (Details can be found at http://msass.case.edu/finaid/child-welfare-fellows.) To qualify for the Child Welfare Fellows program, candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree and be employed by a public child welfare agency in one of the 10 targeted Northeast Ohio counties. The program takes three years to complete. However, social workers with a Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) earned in the past seven years can complete the curriculum in two years.

The Intensive Weekend format of the on-campus MSSA program allows students to continue working full-time, while incorporating what they learn in their jobs, said Victor K. Groza, the Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies at the Mandel School and the program’s director.

In addition to weekend courses, the social workers will have a field placement experience (the hallmark of the Mandel School’s program) within their agencies, but in a department different from where they work. All students will receive courses in leadership and supervision.

Child Welfare Fellows is one of just 13 funded nationally by the institute, which is housed at the Research Foundation for the State University of New York. Support for these programs is through the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children Bureau (grant #90CT7002-02-00).

Since 2009, the Mandel School has received $1.13 million from the institute to help build highly trained child welfare staffs that bring new practices and leadership to social service agencies after earning a Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) degree, Groza said.

To date, the Child Welfare Fellows program has trained 25 social workers from Cuyahoga, Lake and Summit counties. Twenty-four are still working in their child welfare agencies—two of whom were promoted after completing the program.

The new funding adds technology-driven coaching to the training. The program will also offer supervisor training for Cuyahoga County child welfare workers with a license in social work who need two hours per week of job supervision to reach the next level of licensure.

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