Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies
Director, Child Welfare Fellows Program
PhD, University of Oklahoma
MSW, University of Oklahoma
BA, University of Tulsa
In the News
Jun 14 2015
Victor Groza, PhD
The Child Welfare Fellows program, which was created in 2009 to increase the number of public child welfare employees with social work master’s degrees, has been funded again and expanded. In its first five years of funding, the specialized training program has been awarded more than $1.1 million from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute with matching funds provided by the Mandel School and 25 child welfare employees in three Northeast Ohio counties (Cuyahoga, Lake and Summit) have obtained their Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) degrees. With the expansion, the program is now open to full-time public child welfare staff in seven additional Ohio counties: Medina, Stark, Ashtabula, Geauga, Richfield, Huron and Trumbull.
The project is just one of 13 programs in the nation funded by the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute of the Children’s Bureau and is part of an ongoing evaluation process that includes national evaluation and tracking of fellows. Child Welfare Fellows offers up to five students/employees per year the opportunity to obtain scholarships for earning their MSSA degree in three years through the Mandel School’s Intensive Weekend program, which allows them to maintain full-time employment. For each year of funded graduate education, participants must return a year of public child welfare employment after graduating.
Strengthening the Current Child Welfare Workforce
The Child Welfare Fellows program has several distinguishing features, none more important than the fact that it supports professionals at local child welfare agencies who have demonstrated at least a two-to three-year commitment to the work. The expectation is that graduates will either enter or expand leadership roles in their agency.
Another distinguishing feature is that students move together through the master’s degree program as a cohort. This approach allows participants to expand their professional child welfare network, as their fellow students each weekend become their professional contacts during the week. It also encourages more in-depth learning, as student’s professional experiences and knowledge sharing enrich reading assignments and classroom discussions.
× “Becoming the recipient of the fellowship was life altering. Although I was a working professional, other financial responsibilities prevented me from considering graduate school. This scholarship eliminated that barrier and gave me the opportunity to grow and develop as a leader in the child welfare field.” Marquetese Betts
More Opportunities for Professional Development
Supervision and leadership coursework are part of the plan of study for each participant. The project also provides an enhanced field learning experience through individual and small group meetings to help students integrate field and course work. Prior to graduation, fellows prepare a portfolio presentation that documents their abilities and child welfare competencies over time in the program. These poster presentations culminate in a luncheon and presentation of a certificate for being part of the national initiative.
Mandel School faculty members involved with the program include: Associate Professor David Crampton (firstname.lastname@example.org), Assistant Professor Zoe Breen Wood (email@example.com) and Beth Brindo, field faculty advisor and leadership coach (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information about the Child Welfare Fellows program, visit http://socialwork.case.edu/finaid/child-welfare-fellows, or contact Victor K. Groza, Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies (email@example.com), or Gerald A. Strom, Senior Instructor and Intensive Weekend Program Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mar 5 2015
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.
Oct 24 2014
Victor K. Groza, the Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies at the Mandel School, is the co-author of a new book, Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children over Age Four (New Horizon Press), which will be released in December and helps guide parents through the process of adopting an older child.
Dr. Groza’s co-authors are Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, a communications and research assistant at the National Center for Social Work Trauma Education and Workforce Development and a doctoral student at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, and Gloria Russo-Wassell, a national certified counselor and doctoral candidate in educational development psychology at Cornell University and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in New York.
The three adoption and child development experts pooled their vast knowledge on adoptions, child welfare and clinical practices in writing this guide to help parents answer the question: Are we ready to take this journey and adopt? They address the issues to consider in adopting or having already adopted an older child. They also dispel many misconceptions people have about bringing an older child into the family.
“Adopting Older Children is realistic but not sensationalistic. It tells the good, the not-so-good and the cautions of adopting an older child,” said Groza. “To be prepared is to be forewarned and forearmed in case issues arrive. We see that families struggle when they are not adequately prepared for the adoptive experience with an older child.”
The guide was inspired by the large numbers of children yearning to be part of a permanent family and the need to correct misconceptions that prospective parents often have about adopting children age 4 and older. Contrary to misconceptions:
While parents of older adopted children miss out on the early developmental milestones in infancy, Groza points out a number of advantages beyond missed diaper changes and late-night feedings, such as the capacity for better communication and more information about the family history in domestic records (particularly if the child was in the foster care system).
Bosco-Ruggiero, through her work with children who have faced traumas, has seen the incredible resiliency and hope older children have.
“I want the public to know how many wonderful kids are waiting for a family to love them,” said Bosco-Ruggiero, an adoptive parent herself.