The Missouri Training Program for Rural Child Welfare Workers (MTP)

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 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:


  • To develop, implement, and evaluate competency-based training program for child welfare workers and supervisors in 31 rural counties in Missouri.
  • To improve the direct, (with children and families), and indirect, (with communities and other agencies), skills and competencies of Southwest Region rural child welfare frontline workers and supervisors.
  • To develop relationships with community members and leaders and other related agencies (including faith-based organizations) to increase resource development and collaborative activities.
  • To increase awareness of and access to child welfare services in 31 rural Southwest Missouri counties.

Additional Facts

  • First arrived at Missouri State University in October of 2003.
  • Five-year grant, ending September 30, 2008.
  • Funding includes approximately $190,621 awarded annually.
  • The Missouri Training Program grant is implemented through formal partnerships and subcontracting arrangements with the Missouri Children’s Division and the Community Partnership of the Ozarks.
  • Matching funds from community volunteer hours and work completed by our partners constitute 25% of the grant award.
  • Over 300 Children’s Division staff have received training on 18 different program topics related to child welfare.
  • Community collaborative teams have been developed and sustained in several sites through implementation of grant goals to assist the Children’s Division in meeting the needs of client families.
  • For further information about this grant, please contact the Project Director, Kelli Farmer ( or the Project Investigator, Dr. Mary Ann Jennings (