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
Dec 10 2015
On November 3, the West University of Timisoara in Romania awarded Victor K. Groza, PhD, the Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies at the Mandel School, with an honorary doctoral degree called the Doctor Honoris Causa Award. This award recognizes Dr. Groza’s significant contributions toward developing social work education in Romania, as well as his outspoken and transformative advocacy for child welfare and adoption reform in the European country.
The university cited his extensive career traveling the globe and acquiring expertise in adoption, child welfare, and foster family practices in developing countries. “Dr. Victor Groza’s dedication to this field of work is a testament to his belief that all children and families deserve to be supported irrespective of their situation,” the award states.
Although Groza’s grandparents left Romania about 100 years ago to pursue the American dream, Dr. Groza took great interest in his Romanian roots since childhood and has also been passionate about helping children and families in non-traditional circumstances. In 1990, he began reform efforts in Romania, a country whose outdated adoption practices lag 30 to 50 years behind those in the United States. More than two decades later, he started to focus his work at the West University of Timisoara, implementing an education curriculum for adoption-related mental health issues and a post-graduate program for professionals entering the field of adoption.
In Dr. Groza’s eyes, reform is not just about changing laws and policies; it is about transforming the way people view adoption altogether. “Children who enter adoption have a different set of genes and many have life experiences that predated entering the adoptive families,” he states. He advocates that Romania’s social work professionals must realize that a successful adoption system offers lifelong guidance to children and families.
Dr. Groza is also working on a faculty exchange program with West University, made possible by a recent change in European Union (EU) funding that now allows European universities to create faculty and student exchange programs with universities in the United States.
Jul 17 2015
The Mandel School and its partner university in Romania will benefit from a change in European Union (EU) funding that now allows European universities to create faculty and student exchange programs with universities in the United States.
West University of Timisoara in Romania secured funding from the EU’s Erasmus+ Program that allows the university to send two faculty members a year to Case Western Reserve’s social work school and, in turn, two Case Western Reserve faculty to Romania.
Oana-Roxana Ivan, PhD, from the Department of International Relations at West University of Timisoara, secured the grant this month and shared the news with the Mandel School.
“This exchange will enhance and build on the international social work programs at the Mandel School,” said Victor K. Groza, PhD, the Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies, who has been working closely with West University to help create a doctoral social work program that focuses on child welfare research.
Two Mandel School faculty members will have the opportunities to work with the Timisoara faculty, and two Timisoara faculty members will visit the Mandel School. Exchanges will last from one to six weeks.
Although the two university systems are on different academic schedules, he said the exchange is arranged to benefit both universities. After the Case Western Reserve academic year ends in May, faculty members will be available to complete the six weeks in Romania without interruption to their teaching schedules. Likewise, those at Timisoara, whose academic year runs from September to June, will have the opportunity to come to the United States during the Mandel School’s summer session.
For more information, contact Dr. Groza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jun 14 2015
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 (email@example.com), Assistant Professor Zoe Breen Wood (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Beth Brindo, field faculty advisor and leadership coach (email@example.com).
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Gerald A. Strom, Senior Instructor and Intensive Weekend Program Director (email@example.com).