MAILED: Feb. 21, 2001
Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty members received a $35,000 grant to support a collaboration that will develop and implement continuing education for social workers in 31 northern and western Wisconsin counties.
The Otto Bremer Foundation of St. Paul, Minn., awarded the grant to Patricia Christopherson, interim associate dean of human sciences and services in the College of Professional Studies, and Debra King, outreach program manager for Continuing Education, Human Sciences and Services, for Community-Based Services Training Partnership program development. The partnership provides ongoing professional development training to social workers whose clients are primarily adults.
Federal funding supports several continuing education programs for Wisconsin social workers who work with children and families. Social workers who work with adult clients do not have the same opportunities because a continuing education curriculum does not exist for them.
Wisconsin is not the only state with this problem. I think its true nationally, Christopherson said. I called many states, and all state representatives said they had no curriculum for adults. Theres funding for children and families. If there was a grant possibility for adults, it was for a subset of the adult groups in need but not the full spectrum.
Two summers ago representatives from the two state regions and the counties in those regions visited the UW-Eau Claire College of Professional Studies dean and social work faculty to ask us to write, develop, produce and sponsor a core curriculum, Christopherson said.
The partnership has proposed a core curriculum with emphasis in areas such as adult protective services, physical and developmental disabilities, mental health, gerontology, alcohol and other drug abuse, and supervision and administration.
The Otto Bremer Foundation works with nonprofit organizations and annually selects one or more focus areas to call attention to issues and encourage grantees and community members to think about creative solutions.
The Otto Bremer Foundation saw that our group has already proven success, King said. Part of it is that were an organized group. Weve already implemented a number of things weve accomplished.
The program already has an assessment tool and partnership with the counties, letters of support, an advisory committee and a steering committee of directors of human services.
The advisory committee meets every six weeks. Its pretty cool to think that the directors think so much of this program to have a representative out all day to meet, King said. I think our partnership is quite unique.
Financial support will be a continuing need as the program develops. The core curriculum itself is expected to take a couple of years to get going.
Essentially, the $35,000 will help us get started, Christopherson said. The core curriculum will require at least that much more. Public and private money to support that effort is also needed. We are submitting grant requests to other private agencies as well.
Christopherson and King will give a 90-minute presentation, titled Applying Partnership Design to the Developing of the Continuing Education for Professionals, at a national conference in San Antonio, Texas, this May. The conference, Health for All in 2010: Confirming our Commitment/Taking Action, is supported by the group Community/Campus Partnership for Health.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Feb. 21, 2001