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Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminology Receives $1,087,860 Grant Renewal to Support Child Welfare Training in Idaho

The Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminology recently received a $1 million grant renewal from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to help train child welfare workers in Idaho.

Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminology Receives $1,087,860 Grant Renewal to Support Child Welfare Training in Idaho

The grant helps embedded trainers teach new child welfare workers and veterans through field training, coaching, mentoring and in-service training. These embedded trainers reside in Pocatello, Twin Falls, Boise, Caldwell and Coeur d’Alene and serve in the cities around them. Each area is identified as a hub and allows opportunities for improve the transfer of learning to the field. Each trainer is either a licensed clinical or master’s level social worker, and all have had experience in child welfare.

Staci Jensen-Hart, ISU associate professor of social work, said this two-year renewal of the grant will help beef up curriculum development and the evaluation process of child welfare workers to ensure their training is effective.  A new curriculum section in the training focuses on increasing awareness of secondary traumatic stress in child welfare workers and building resiliency in hearing about a traumatic experience from someone else. Jensen-Hart said recognizing and addressing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress and developing resiliency strategies help increase worker retention rates and job satisfaction, which in turn positively impacts children and families. 

Idaho State University initially received the training grant in December 2010 to provide an embedded approach in child welfare training. This grant was renewed until 2018.

The ISU Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminology also helps students who are interested in going into child welfare work to obtain internships before graduation through a contract with the Idaho Title IV-E Child Welfare Scholar’s Stipend Program. The program awards stipends for students who qualify and who are committed to practicing child welfare work in Idaho.

“The program benefits students in our social work program in helping them have more direct access to the field,” Jensen-Hart said. “It also helps them understand the things that are currently happening in the practice and to be more successful when they graduate.”

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