- Published on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 16:16
A federal grant will benefit abused and neglected children in El Paso County and the surrounding areas by supporting child welfare training for graduate students in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) recently awarded $683,000 to UTEP through the Title VI-E program to fund the Child Welfare Training Project in the College of Health Sciences. The grant will also fund technical assistance and staff development training for caseworkers, investigators and child protection social workers at Child Protective Services (CPS) offices in Region 10, which includes El Paso, Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties.
Title IV-E is the major source of federal funding for educating and training the child welfare workforce. In Texas, the Title IV-E program is administered by the DFPS.
“This relationship is critical for both UTEP and Child Protective Services,” said Mark Lusk, Ed.D., professor of social work and the project’s principal investigator. “This grant gives our students the opportunity to do their placement in child welfare and start their careers as master’s level social workers at CPS. At the same time, CPS employees can avail themselves of our faculty members’ expertise in a variety of areas, such as child trauma, foster care, working with military families and more.”
In addition to Lusk, Donna Cude-Islas, UTEP clinical instructor and practicum coordinator, and UTEP assistant professors Sam Terrazas, Ph.D., Yok Fong Paat, Ph.D., and Adam McCormick, Ph.D., MSW coordinator, will contribute their expertise to the project.
From October to June 2014, up to five MSW students will receive on-the-job training at Child Protective Services in El Paso where they will learn investigative, assessment and documentation techniques that are specific to child welfare practices in the Paso del Norte region.
Students also will receive stipends to help pay for their studies.
“We are fortunate to have established a strong partnership with The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Social Work,” said Diana Barajas, CPS Regional Director for the El Paso area. “Through this collaboration, we will help in the development of master social workers who bring the added expertise in the field of Child Welfare to address the needs of our community.”
Marcela G. Ordóñez is the first graduate student to participate in the program this fall. The remaining students will start their CPS internships during the spring 2014 semester.
As part of the grant, social work faculty members will provide continuing education opportunities to CPS social workers and administrators to strengthen their investigative skills and enhance the quality of services they provide to foster parents, at risk children and children who have experienced trauma, Lusk said.
In 2014, UTEP will host three major workshops for CPS workers and foster parents.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) works with communities to protect children, the elderly and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Child Protective Services is a major program of DFPS that works to protect children from abuse and neglect through investigations, services, foster care and adoption.
For more information on the Child Welfare Training Project, contact Mark Lusk at 915-747-8588.