The Briar Cliff University Department of Social Work has been awarded a $550,000 grant to provide educational stipends for Native American social work students who are pursuing careers in child welfare, beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year this fall. The grant also has been designated to develop and promote child welfare competencies, with a focus on Indian child welfare through social work education at Briar Cliff.
According to Heather Craig-Oldsen, chairperson of Briar Cliff’s social work department, “We are very fortunate to receive this highly competitive funding. Applications were numerous, representing masters and baccalaureate social work programs from all over the country. We are one of nine programs receiving funds.” Awarded by the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the grant is a five-year project in collaboration with the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute.
It was developed by the advisory committee of the Siouxland Indian Child Welfare Traineeship Project: Developing Native Bachelor of Social Work Child Welfare Workers for Native Families (SICWTP). “This project has been an extraordinary example of community teamwork,” said Frank LaMere, member of the SICWTP advisory committee. “The advisory committee worked very hard to develop this successful and highly competitive grant. This would not have been possible without the community’s resolve and many years of diligent work on issues of Indian child welfare in Siouxland. Good will come of it.”
LaMere, who works for the Casey Foundation through Sioux City’s Four Directions Center, is known nationally for his advocacy for Native American issues. Applicants must meet the criteria set forth by the SICWTP advisory committee and the Briar Cliff Department of Admissions. Priority will be given to applicants enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. For more information, please contact Heather Craig-Oldsen, 712-279-5489.