Educational Outreach in Public Child Welfare
The CFL program is an outgrowth of the UK College of Social Work’s Child Welfare Field Education program devoting College of Social Work faculty positions to collaboration with regional Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) offices in developing and implementing educational experiences for enhancing professional practice with children and families. UK dedicates social work faculty to this program at the main campus in Lexington and the off-campus programs in Morehead/Ashland, and Hazard/Prestonsburg.
CFL is an innovative university/agency partnership offering child welfare professionals the opportunity to earn graduate-level credit as non-degree graduate students while fulfilling the professional development requirements for employment with the agency. CFL courses are collaboratively designed, and are developed and taught by teaching teams consisting of university instructors and child welfare professionals. These courses utilize distributed education models combining intensive face-to-face classroom sessions and web-based sessions, and are offered at off-campus sites throughout the state to allow participation by students who live in rural as well as urban areas. Credit hours earned through CFL can be applied as elective hours towards a master’s degree at any of the three public institutions offering a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.
UK CFL Faculty collaborate with CHFS personnel in identifying and addressing specific learning and informational needs within the CHFS regions. These faculty members also assist CHFS in increasing the number of graduate trained staff through recruiting, advising and mentoring those interested in pursuing a MSW degree. Additionally, faculty work with CHFS to encourage and train MSW-level supervisors to share their expertise with current staff and students by serving as field instructors for students in the MSW program.
All communities are impacted by family violence. Educational outreach efforts such as CFL help bridge the gap between research and practice to better address societal problems. Ultimately, communities, families, and children benefit from professionals who continue to educate themselves in evidence-based practice and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to deal with the complex problems of vulnerable children and families.