In 2003, the Commission on Children’s Justice and Missouri’s Senate Interim Committee to Improve Child Protection Services and Foster Care both made recommendations for additional training for child welfare workers. Additionally, recent Child Welfare Legislation (HB 4533) identified training as a key component in providing more effective service delivery throughout the state of Missouri.
Motivated to help alleviate the problems highlighted in the reports and the issues experienced by rural families in the Southwest corner of the state, two faculty members from the School of Social Work at Missouri State University (MSU) co-authored a rural child welfare training grant that was awarded in October, 2003, from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Children Bureau. The grant is awarded annually for 5 years. Dr. Mary Ann Jennings, one of the co-authors of the grant, is the Principal Investigator.
The grant allowed for two collaborating agencies, Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) and Missouri Children’s Division to be involved. Missouri Training Program aims to educate frontline child welfare workers and supervisors to better meet the unique needs of southwest Missouri’s rural population
In partnership with the Children’s Division of the Southwest Region and Community Partnership of the Ozarks, the School of Social Work at Southwest Missouri State will develop training modules with direct input from front line workers, supervisors, community members and families. In addition, the program initiative will provide extensive competency based training throughout the southwest Region.
At the heart of the Missouri Training Program for Rural Child Welfare Workers are four main goals: