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April 13, 2000

Pitt to administer child welfare worker program

Caseworkers, supervisors and other child welfare employees can earn a master's degree at Pitt's School of Social Work or at any of five approved schools across the state, through a Pitt-administered program called Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL).

A $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare funds the ongoing program, the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania.

CWEL participants receive financial support while in school, in addition to full tuition, fees and a book allowance. Eligible applicants must have an academic degree and must have been employed at the same public child welfare agency for at least one year. They also must agree to return to the same agency upon completion of their studies. The deadline to apply is April 30.

The primary goal is to strengthen child welfare services in Pennsylvania, according to Edward W. Sites, professor at Pitt's School of Social Work and director of the program.

"During 1998, there were 25,898 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect investigated by public child welfare agencies across the state," Sites said. "An enormous amount of information and great skill are required to complete these investigations, to assure the safety of every child, and to link those children and families with the services they need. This program provides that training."

Since CWEL's inception in 1995, nearly 300 child welfare employees from 46 Pennsylvania counties have enrolled. In addition to Pitt, other participating graduate programs are at Bryn Mawr College, Marywood University, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania and Widener University.

To apply, contact Sites at 624-6305 or Caroline Donohue at 624-6387.

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