College of Social Work to Offer New Graduate Certificate in Child Welfare Practice

College of Social Work to Offer New Graduate Certificate in Child Welfare Practice

By Harriett Hendren

With a critical shortage in Kentucky’s child welfare workforce, the need for child welfare social workers is high. To help fill that demand for qualified professionals, the UK College of Social Work will offer a new graduate certificate in child welfare practice starting in the fall semester.

Adding to the urgency for qualified social workers, is the documented increase in child abuse in the United States, said Stephanie Haynes Ratliff, director of the college’s Credit for Learning Program.

“Child maltreatment is on the rise. In the past four years the number of screened-in reports of child maltreatment in the U.S. increased by 12.2%, and Kentucky experienced a 27.4% increase,” said Ratliff, referring to findings by the Department of Health & Human Services U.S. Children’s Bureau.

The Graduate Certificate in Child Welfare Practice will prepare students for advanced practice with children and their families, including those experiencing violence or neglect. Coursework will address complex factors that contribute to the maltreatment and neglect of children, and emphasize intervention strategies, including evidence-based practices.

“Because of the vulnerability of children and their families, it is imperative for social workers to be able to engage effectively with families in crisis and demonstrate collaborative assessment skills in order to implement change in a meaningful way, one that results in safe families,” said Kalea Benner, associate dean for academic and student affairs at the UK College of Social Work.

Prospective students do not need to be enrolled in the Master of Social Work program, but must have a bachelor’s degree to apply. The program requires a total of 9 credit hours. Students interested in the certificate should contact Stephanie Haynes Ratliff. For more information and course descriptions go to