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Child Welfare: Education & Training


Title IV-E Child Welfare Education Program Evaluation

The Child Welfare Educational Program at the Portland State University is a partnership between the School of Social Work, Oregon Department of Human Services, and the US Department of Human Services Administration for Children and Families. This university-public agency partnership is part of a national initiative to prepare Social Work students for careers in child welfare practice, improve the retention and performance of practitioners in child welfare organizations, and improve the delivery of services to child welfare involved children and families.


This longitudinal study seeks to evaluate

(a) the program participant’s educational experience and preparedness for child welfare practice,

(b) the participant’s employment retention in their sponsoring organization, and

(c) individual and organizational performance outcomes.


The specific evaluation questions are; does participation in the CWEP program

(1) prepare students for careers in child welfare?

(2) increase employee retention?

(3) improve employee and organizational performance?


Funding:        US Department of Health and Human Services
Start Date:     Ongoing

Contact:         Jeff Waid



Child Welfare Staff and Caregiver Training Evaluation

Trainings evaluated on an ongoing basis include: core child welfare training, Foster/Adoptive/Relative Caregiver training, and training provided through distance delivery. Evaluation is aimed at improving training design and delivery.


Start Date:     Ongoing

Contact:         Kirstin O'Dell



Children's Justice Act: Reducing the Trauma to Children During Child Abuse Investigations, Removal and Out-of-Home Placement

The Foster Care subcommittee of the Oregon Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Task Force identified the need to address the trauma to children associated with the investigation of suspected child abuse and neglect and the initial out-of-home placement. They contracted with PSU's Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services to design and conduct a project to address that need.

Overall Project Objectives

  1. Defining and understanding the nature of the trauma to children, at different ages and developmental stages, associated with the investigation of suspected child abuse and neglect.
  2. Defining and understanding the nature of the trauma to children associated with the initial out-of-home placement.
  3. Identifying effective practices for reducing the trauma to children during investigation and initial out-of-home placement.
  4. Dissemination of this information to members of the various systems involved in investigation and initial placement through training, education, or other strategies.

The first three objectives were accomplished through a review of the literature, consultation with local and national experts, and focus groups and interviews with child welfare caseworkers and supervisors, tribal workers and supervisors, police officers and detectives, foster parents, birthparents, teachers and school counselors, medical examiners, mental health providers, juvenile court staff, child welfare trainers, and foster youth. Once this information was collected, various types of materials and resources were identified and developed for dissemination.


This website was developed as a tool for dissemination of the various products developed in this project as well as links to resources on other websites, especially the National Child Traumatic Stress Network ( The various resources and materials may be accessed through the links below: 

» Trauma Training
» Trauma Resources 


Start Date:     2008

 End Date: 2009

Contact:         Angela Rodgers



Title IV-E Student Graduation and Workplace Retention Evaluation

This study is a longitudinal examination of outcomes for graduates of the Child Welfare Education Program. The study examines graduation and employment records of participating MSW students in relationship to program goals of recruiting promising social work graduates into long-term public child welfare careers and increasing professional skills of public child welfare practitioners within the Department of Human Services.


Start Date:     2006

End Date:      2007



Training for Excellence in Child Welfare Practice in Rural Oregon and Alaska

This project is an evaluation of a training grant awarded by the Children’s Bureau. Trainings offered or supported by the grant are evaluated, including: “In Celebration of Rural and Tribal Child Welfare Practice Training Institute,” NetLink online trainings, University based online courses (WebCT), and Tribal Safety Assessment training.


Funding:  Children's Bureau

Start Date:     2003

End Date:      2008