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UAlbany Spearheads New National Child Welfare Workforce Institute

Institute will provide leadership training for those who serve abused and neglected children

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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UAlbany School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson

UAlbany School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 17, 2008) -- The University at Albany's School of Social Welfare will spearhead the new $16.5 million National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI), established to support the workforce in public, private, and tribal child welfare systems through leadership development. The institute is a partnership between UAlbany and the universities of Denver, Fordham, Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan, North Carolina and Southern Maine, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association.

NCWWI, funded by the U.S. Children's Bureau, will focus on leadership as a way to strengthen the recruitment, selection, and retention of high quality staff, including professionally prepared social workers who assist abused and neglected children.

School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson and Mary McCarthy, director of UAlbany's Social Work Education Consortium, are principal investigators on the grant, which will bring $1.4 million to UAlbany over the life of the five-year award.

"The Institute provides an historic opportunity to impact the child welfare field. UAlbany's School of Social Welfare is on the forefront of the issue of how to best protect children by recruiting, training, and retaining the very best child welfare workers," said Briar-Lawson. "The consortium has worked tirelessly with colleagues in the state and nationally in its pioneering efforts to tackle this problem."

Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy is director of UAlbany's Social Work Education Consortium. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

"The main focus of the new National Child Welfare Workforce Institute is to prepare middle managers and supervisors to be strong and effective leaders in their agencies and their states, supporting professional practice, building systems of care across communities, welcoming professionally prepared social workers into their workforce, and implementing emerging and effective practices to improve services to children and families," McCarthy said.

The mission of the School of Social Welfare is to further social and economic justice and to serve people who are vulnerable, marginalized or oppressed, a mission implemented through education, knowledge development, and service that promotes leadership for evidence-based social work with a global perspective. The School was ranked 12th among social work schools nationwide in the most recent U.S. News and World Report. In addition, School of Social Welfare faculty consistently rank in the top five of all schools of social work nationally for their research and scholarship.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

Carol Whittaker
UAlbany Faculty

"We have to make sure people have long, healthy lives so they can be happy and productive for their families and their countries."

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