Interdisciplinary Education Projects

Child Abuse Prevention and Identification Interdisciplinary Education Projects

The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI), a cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau (CB), is a federally funded institute dedicated to increasing child welfare practice effectiveness through diverse partnerships. NCWWI has received funding from CB to support and enhance current interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate education programs in community colleges, tribal colleges, colleges, and universities that improve training on how to prevent, identify, and respond to child abuse. The authorizing legislation is in the Child Welfare Research, Training and Demonstration category of the FY 2021 Omnibus Bill.

For child welfare systems to achieve their goals, they must attract, develop, and retain a diverse workforce with knowledge and skills in understanding families and preventing and intervening when needed to reduce child abuse and neglect. To further this aim, NCWWI issued a Request for Proposals for Child Abuse Prevention and Identification Interdisciplinary Education Projects in July 2021, inviting state, county, and tribal child welfare programs; community colleges; tribal colleges; undergraduate and graduate programs; and not-for-profit agencies working in the field of child abuse and neglect to apply for funding to expand or enhance a current interdisciplinary education program designed to prepare future professionals across a number of disciplines with greater knowledge, skills, and abilities in the prevention, identification, and response to child abuse.

For this pilot funding initiative, three sites were selected from a very competitive pool of proposals. These sites are:

Through support from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) plans to improve the multidisciplinary child maltreatment workforce across the state of Oklahoma. OUHSC proposes to make several key expansions and improvements to their existing Interdisciplinary Training Program (ITP). The plan includes improving current marketing materials and recruiting additional students from locations outside the capital. New academic partnerships across the state will be explored to effectively expand the virtual program and extend opportunities to students in rural areas. 

Secondly, OUHSC plans to improve the current ITP program evaluation. The University plans to incorporate a standardized procedure to track knowledge gains and obtain student satisfaction ratings and weekly formative reflection assessment throughout the course. ITP faculty and staff will dedicate time to develop, test and implement these new evaluation procedures. 

Through support from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, the University of South Dakota (USD) School of Health Sciences and the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment plan to conduct multidisciplinary focus group sessions with professionals throughout South Dakota to develop Midwest-based case studies to enhance the current Child & Adult Advocacy Studies (CAASt) graduate certificate curriculum. The CAASt graduate certificate at USD is a 4-course, 12-credit online graduate-level program that allows traditional and non-traditional students to enhance their understanding of trauma across the lifespan, improve their ability to work in a multidisciplinary team and encourage professional and system response to child maltreatment in South Dakota. The cases developed by professionals working with families and children who have experienced maltreatment in South Dakota will promote active student engagement, analytical thinking, decision-making in complex situations and the ability to cope with ambiguity. The cases built throughout this project will provide a framework for a future CAASt textbook, which will be used within the program to prepare students for real-life field experiences. Throughout the course of this project, an evaluation plan will be implemented to determine the effectiveness and validity of using these cases within the CAASt curriculum to enhance student learning and experience.

The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) is a membership organization providing training, funding, technical assistance and leadership on a statewide level to local child advocacy centers and professionals who are responsible for responding to reports of child abuse. The CACM also provides coordination, technical assistance and training support to 28 colleges, universities, community colleges, law schools and medical schools that offer interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) courses throughout Mississippi.  

With the support of this grant, CACM will enhance their current efforts to prepare future professionals across disciplines with greater knowledge, skills and abilities in the prevention and identification of and response to incidences of child abuse. They will develop simulation modules for students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The simulation modules will be designed to increase students’ knowledge of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, mandated reporting, minimal facts interviewing, a trauma-informed victim-centered approach and recognizing and documenting child abuse. The simulations will be developed and ready for implementation in spring 2022. 

In addition, grant support will provide scholarship opportunities for a minimum of 60 CAST students from various institutions to attend CACM’s annual conference, where experts from the child welfare field provide information on the latest trends and topics. Dollars will also be used to purchase and install video and sound equipment to enhance opportunities and the facilitation of remote simulation training and interactions. 

If you would like to stay connected to this pilot project and receive intermittent updates about the funded programs and any lessons learned to help support and improve interdisciplinary education initiatives for child abuse and neglect prevention and identification, please contact Sharon Kollar.

Please contact Mary McCarthy, Principal Investigator, with any questions related to this project or funding.