Sep 222004
Authors: Erin Tracy

CSU’s newest research facility, the Social Work Research Center, will look into effective intervention strategies for children being served by welfare agencies as their first large project.

The new research center, which CSU introduced to the community Wednesday, is a collaboration between CSU’s School of Social Work and the County Departments of Human Services in Colorado.

Deborah Valentine, director of the School of Social Work and interim director of the Social Work Research Center, said the purpose of the open house Wednesday was to introduce the center to the community as an available resource.

“We are here to celebrate the grand opening of the research center designed to evaluate effectiveness of interventions that serve children and families,” Valentine said.

The first big project for SWRC is a study called Applied Research and Child Welfare that will follow children as they are raised with a person who has a connection by blood, marriage, adoption (kinship care) or parental care not related by blood or legal ties (foster care).

“We will try to determine the very best interventions for children who are being served by child welfare agencies in this state,” Valentine said.

Marc Winokur, assistant director of the SWRC, said the study is going to do a systematic review on literature pertaining to kinship and foster care and will analyze data from counties around Colorado.

“Hopefully our findings will influence policy and practice at the county level,” Winokur said.

Jim Drendel, Larimer County Department of Human Services division manager of children youth and family, said one of the reasons for the collaboration between CSU and the county departments is to promote learning, social work practice and social justice.

“We are going to propose problems and they are going to research them,” Drendel said. “I hope that we will show (from research) that some things work and some things don’t.”

Winokur said CSU will be a big help with the research.

“We will be tapping into their expertise,” Winokur said.

It was this expertise that placed CSU’s social work graduate programs in the top 27th percentile in the U.S. News and World Report.

Valentine said she is very proud of the ranking since CSU is the newest program among the nation’s top programs.

“It speaks volumes about the caliber and commitment of the faculty and students at Colorado State’s School of Social Work,” Valentine said in a press release.

Valentine said even though it was the first time the school made the list, she was not surprised.

“It was wonderful,” Valentine said. “But we deserved it.”

Even with the recent ranking, Valentine said she has high hopes for the future of SWRC.

“I would like to see us being the primary research site of evaluating the effectiveness of social work practice,” Valentine said.

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