UAA School of Social Work receives grant to improve training and retention of child welfare workers

May 8, 2014

The UAA School of Social Work is one of 11 programs nationwide selected to participate in the second cohort for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI). Throughout the five-year project, the School of Social Work will receive $147,000 per year to support students interested in serving in the child welfare field.

The project is a cooperative effort between the UAA School of Social Work, UAF Department of Social Work and State of Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services (OCS). Currently, the average OCS worker stays with the agency 17 months. The new grant will extend education, training and mentorship opportunities to participating students, in the hopes of encouraging graduates to stay with the agency much longer. Priority will be given to B.S.W. students willing to commit to working in rural Alaska.

At least 65 percent of the grant budget will be used to provide academic support for students, primarily tuition. As a condition of the grant, trainees are expected to pursue a specialized child welfare program of study, undertake field placements in public child welfare agencies and gain employment in public child welfare upon graduation. If a trainee does not complete the academic program or gain employment in a child welfare agency, he/she must pay back the traineeship funds.

Randy Magen, professor in the UAA School of Social Work, is the principal investigator. Project collaborators are: Retchenda George-Bettisworth, chair of the UAF Department of Social Work; and Christy Lawton, director of the State of Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services.

For more information, contact Randy Magen at (907) 786-6901 or

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