College partners with new academy certifying child welfare caseworkers
Metropolitan State College of Denver is partnering with a new academy that is certifying Colorado’s child welfare caseworkers.
The Department of Social Work is using a central registration process for Colorado’s new Child Welfare Training Academy that opened in January to train and certify caseworkers and their supervisors. The academy is a new training initiative of the Colorado Department of Human Services.
“It’s something badly needed in Colorado and I’m pleased and proud that Metro State and the social work department are helping,” says Virginia Cruz, chair and associate professor of social work at the College. “Our children always deserve the best possible care we can give them.”
Metro State will oversee all registration logistics and some training of case workers, who’ll be coming from all parts of the state to attend the academy in Denver.
Attendance is mandatory, and about 400 caseworkers are expected to be trained at the academy in 2010. Metro State is using part of a $500,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services to play its role.
Robert Slay, an administrator in the social work department, says partnering and helping in the community is part of the department’s mission, and that the academy is a “fantastic step” in the right direction.
Cruz praised the way the academy is operating. “The caseworkers come in for intense classroom training for three days and then return to their jobs in the field to apply what they learned immediately,” she says. “Then the cycle repeats, they return for more training and then back again to the field, and this will lead to certification. It’s a systematic approach I think will work very well and ultimately it will keeps children safer.”
Cruz says the impetus for the academy and certification was a spate of child fatalities. In 2007, 13 children in Colorado died as a result of abuse and neglect, according to a report by the Denver Daily News.
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has said he believes the academy will save lives and that it will give child-welfare caseworkers the tools they need to protect kids and keep them safe.
The Department of Social Work has partnered with the Colorado Department of Human Services for the past 15 years. The partnership has provided educational opportunities through student stipends, community training about developmental disabilities and oversight of the statewide central registration system for state Child Welfare training.