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Recently posted in CASCW

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) is now accepting applications for Title IV-E funding from prospective and current Master of Social Work students who are interested in child welfare.

Federal Social Security Title IV-E funds subsidize child welfare services to keep children in their families when possible, provide permanency planning services, or finance out-of-home placement. Public child welfare services are those provided by state or county child protection, foster care, adoption, and family services agencies.

By providing Title IV-E educational support to MSW students, CASCW seeks to improve the quality of public child welfare services. Students who receive this support follow child welfare-specific curriculum requirements, including selecting Family and Children as a primary concentration. Students also attend CASCW meetings, forums, and experiential learning events to further their knowledge, and seek and accept post-graduate employment in a public child welfare setting.

Financial support varies each year, depending upon CASCW's access to federal matching funds. Generally financial support amounts to $5,000 per semester for three or four semesters depending on student program. Stipend awards are contingent upon the Center's receipt of Title IV-E funding. The Title IV-E budget and University educational costs for 2014-15 are not known at this time.

To apply, please visit our Title IV-E Stipend Information webpage.

If you have questions regarding Title IV-E educational support, please contact Liz Snyder at snyde276@umn.edu.

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L-R: Brenda Hartman, alumni society president (B.S. '81, M.S.W. '89), Marvin Davis (M.S.W. '97), Halil Dundar (M.A. '90, Ph.D. '93), Peg Lonnquist (Ph.D. '95), Jon Ruzek, director of alumni relations


On November 21, 2013, the CEHD Alumni Society honored three exceptional alumni as part of the college's annual Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony.


Halil Dundar received the CEHD Distinguished International Alumni Award. Since 1997, this award has recognized outstanding achievements of international CEHD alumni, from master's and doctoral programs, who have contributed to outstanding educational progress in their countries. Dr. Dundar grew up in a small town in Turkey, graduating from Ankara University on national scholarship. He was then awarded a full scholarship by the Turkish Ministry of Education to study in the United States. He chose the University of Minnesota and completed his master's and doctoral degrees from the college's former Department of Educational Policy and Administration, focusing on the economics of higher education. Bringing both diligence and integrity to his work as lead education specialist for The World Bank, Halil has made outstanding contributions to educational progress in Turkey and developing countries in the former Soviet Union, Asian republics, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

Marvin Davis received the CEHD Alumni Society Award of Excellence. Throughout his social work career, Marvin has demonstrated exceptional leadership, holding several important positions at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. He currently coordinates the development and delivery of child welfare training systems designed for county and tribal supervisors, social workers, and resource families. A master of social work graduate from the college's School of Social Work, Marvin has taken on challenging issues in the field of child welfare, such as engaging with fathers and addressing racial disparities in the system. He's also worked with the college's Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare to advocate for a common set of child welfare worker competencies to be adopted for use in educating entry-level practitioners.


Peg Lonnquist was the other recipient of the CEHD Alumni Society Award of Excellence.
Dr. Lonnquist has had, and continues to have, a distinguished career as a social justice educator. A doctoral graduate in educational policy and administration, she has held both faculty and administrative roles at Hamline University, Iowa State University, and currently the University of Minnesota. Peg is director of the University of Minnesota's Women's Center, which increases connections for women's success, cultivates socially responsible leaders, and advocates for organizational culture change. Through her work in education she has diligently advanced the mission of equity for all, while bringing a spirit of collegiality, enthusiasm, and a commitment to growth. Peg has been a formal and informal mentor to countless staff, students, and emerging leaders.


The CEHD Alumni Society's slate of awards were recently restructured to more broadly recognize the diverse career experiences and professional achievements of our vast alumni body. The Award of Excellence is presented annually to two CEHD alumni, who have at least 15 years of work experience, have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in their profession, served as mentors to others in their field, and shown exceptional volunteer service. In carrying on the Alumni Society's 45-year old tradition of honoring alumni both in and outside of education, one recipient of the Award of Excellence represents a career in pre-K through 20 educational institutions, and the other recipient represents a career outside of such institutions.

Founded in 1956, the volunteers of the the CEHD Alumni Society have a long record of service to the college and proudly represent over 70,000 living alumni. The Alumni Society has recognized outstanding alumni achievements since 1968.

Dr. Kristine Piescher, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW), was recently selected as the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform's (CJJR) Featured Fellow.

Dr. Piescher completed CJJR's Information Sharing Certificate Program in October of 2012. As part of the certificate program, she has been working on a capstone project that will support CASCW's Minn-LInK project. Minn-LInK is an integrated, cross-system data project that utilizes shared administrative data from state agencies to examine a variety of indicators of well-being for children involved in the child welfare system and children in other at-risk populations.

Learn more about Dr. Piescher's work and how it ties into the Information Sharing Certificate program here.

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work has received a competitive grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will provide $489,119 over three years to create the capacity for data intensive research through expansion of the Center's Minn-LInK project.

MinnLinkLogo CROPPED.jpgThe Minn-LInK project, or Minnesota Linking Information for Kids, is an integrated, cross-system data project housed at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. Minn-LInK utilizes administrative data from state agencies to examine a variety of indicators of well-being for children involved in the child welfare system and children in other at-risk populations, with an aim of highlighting policy and practice implications and improving services for children.

For example, a recent study examined educational outcomes of children involved in the child welfare system, with a specific focus on children in out-of-home placement, or foster care. This study helped local and state educators and service providers (including the Minnesota Educational Stability Taskforce) better understand the educational experiences of this at-risk population and informed decision-making. Minn-LInK uses data in accordance with data sharing agreements and strict security protocols are in place to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of data.

The NSF grant will allow the Center to expand the infrastructure of Minn-LInK by integrating additional statewide administrative data and developing ready-to-use datasets and tools. It will also fund the creation and piloting of the Minn-LInK Fellowship Program to prepare future researchers for cross-system research on child well-being. Through this grant the Center will be able to organize a community of researchers whose focus is on child well-being.

For more information, visit the Minn-LInK webpage.

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, together with the First Nations Repatriation Institute and the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies at the University of Minnesota—Duluth, is co-sponsoring the forum Deconstructing the Baby Veronica Case: Implications for Working with Fathers in Indian Child Welfare Practice on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.

Federal and state laws, as well as agency policies and practice, play a significant role in how we work with fathers in Indian child welfare practice. In this forum, speakers and panelists with differing viewpoints will analyze the legal context of the "Baby Veronica" case for a closer look at father involvement. Practice strategies and policy recommendations will be a focal point.

Presenters and panelists include:

  • Judge William Thorne, Utah Court of Appeals
  • Chrissi Nimmo, Assistant Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation
  • Mark Fiddler, Attorney representing the Capobianco Family
  • Erma J. Vizenor, Chairwoman, White Earth Nation
  • Terry Cross, Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association
  • Esie Leoso, Social Services Director for Bad River Band of Ojibwe, Wisconsin
  • Mary Boo, Assistant Director of North American Council on Adoptable Children
  • Sarah Deer, Assistant Professor of Law at the William Mitchell College of Law

For more information and to register, visit the forum's webpage.

Examining the Association of Children's Academic Performance with Their Exposure to Parental Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment is the newest brief from Minn-LInK (Minnesota-Linking Information for Kids).

The purpose of the study was to "explore[] the association of children's exposure to parental intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM), as well as combined exposure (IPV-CM), to children's academic achievement and school attendance over time." The study was meant to fill a research gap on individual and combined associations of children's exposure to IPV and/or CM with school success.

Results of the study are consistent with prior research that shows child exposure to both CM and IPV have a negative impact on school success.

View the brief here to learn more about the study and related research. You can also view the supplement to the brief here.

anuguide.PNGA new publication from the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) and Anu Family Services provides guidance for creating a permanence-driven child welfare organization.

Creating a Permanence Driven Organization: A Guidebook for Change in Child Welfare outlines processes by which agencies can shift from helping youth to simply survive to helping youth thrive through a permanence-driven framework, using the experiences of Anu Family Services staff. Since 2006, Anu Family Services was able to increase permanence outcomes for youth exiting treatment foster care by 84 percent through implementation of evidence-informed practices, significant cultural and organizational change, and extensive changes in practice.

You can download this free resource here.

Annette Semanchin Jones, MSW, PhD and Traci LaLiberte, MSW, PhD of CASCW and Amelia Franck Meyer, MS, MSW, LISW, APSW of Anu Family Services authored the publication.

The College of Education + Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota regularly features Students, Faculty, and Alumni of CEHD. Recently CEHD featured a staff member from the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW).

JaeRan Kim, MSW is a PhD Candidate at the School of Social Work and the Stability, Permanency and Adoption Coordinator at CASCW. Her profile on CEHD's Featured People highlights her personal story and how it has influenced her career and research path: "As a Korean adoptee and an active member of the adoptee community, she always knew she would focus her work and research on inter-country adoption."

At CASCW, JaeRan manages the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate (PACC), a certificate program for child welfare and mental health professionals. Her dissertation research focuses on the placement and stability of internationally adopted children with disabilities.

You can read more about JaeRan here.

Governor Dayton's Children's Cabinet, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota joined together for Building Power for Babies, an event held at the Science Museum of Minnesota on June 3, 2013. This event explored the importance of the first 1,000 days of life and the critical relationships between experience, environment, families and communities and how those relationships affect the life-long health and optimal achievement of Minnesota's youngest children. The event was part of Governor Mark Dayton's Children's Cabinet's strategy for improving outcomes for Minnesota's babies and toddlers. 

The event kicked off the Cabinet's second phase of strategic planning, which is focused on working with partners and parents to create safe, stable nurturing relationships and environments for infants and toddlers. This event was presented by the Science Museum of Minnesota with funding from the National Science Foundation, in association with Governor Dayton's Children's Cabinet and the University of Minnesota. The Science Museum's Wonder Years focuses on important research about optimal brain development and shows the importance of using scientific insights about children to inform public policy decisions.

The Center for Early Education and Development's (CEED) involvement includes Project for Babies' prenatal-to-three state planning group, headed by Jane Kretzmann, and a partnership between CEED and the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW). The CEED/CASCW partnership, coordinated by CEED's Nikki Kovan and CASCW's Tracy Crudo, works to translate development science for child welfare audiences and include their voices in the ongoing prenatal-to-three work happening in Minnesota. 

In February 2012, the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) in collaboration with the Minnesota Council of Child Caring Agencies (MCCCA) conducted a study to examine adoption disruptions and dissolutions among children in Minnesota's private-agency out-of-home placements. Preliminary results from this study are now available online.

In conducting this study, CASCW and MCCCA hoped to gain a better understanding of the experiences of children in private out-of-home placements in Minnesota. What is contained in the preliminary results is a side-by-side comparison of data from all residential facilities, group homes, and foster homes that participated in the study.

In sum, there were 938 youth from 34 agencies in the sample.

  • The largest percentages of children were placed by a court order; this was higher in treatment foster homes (74.3% of youths) and lower in residential treatment (16.9%).
  • The average youth from within this study experienced 1 to 2 previous placements.
  • 77.6% never experienced a finalized adoption or pre-adoptive placement.
  • 92% of the youth had a disability/diagnosis.
  • The most frequently diagnosed disorders held across all placement types; these were Disruptive Behavior Disorder, Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.

In-depth analysis of data is ongoing with an anticipated completed report later this year.

For more information on this report, please contact the Principal Investigator for this study, Dr. Traci LaLiberte, at lali0017@umn.edu.

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