Students, clockwise from top left, Dasia Hyder, Gwendolyn Noonan, Naja Cotton and Lastasia Peacock are the ECSU’s first students to participate in the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative.
Elizabeth City State University has become one of 21 public and private colleges and universities in North Carolina to comprise the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative, established in 1999. Four ECSU students, two seniors and two juniors, make up the university’s inaugural class of Collaborative fellows.
The Collaborative is a program designed to train future child welfare workers in Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work programs. It has prepared over 1,500 highly qualified social workers committed to working at North Carolina county Department of Social Services (DSS) agencies.
According to ECSU social work professor, Dr. Kim Downing, seniors Dasia Hyder and Gwendolyn Noonan, and juniors Naja Cotton and Lastasia Peacock are the university’s first students to participate in the statewide training program.
“Workshops will be presented annually in the fall and spring semesters and are mandatory for the fellows, but open to all junior and senior level social work majors who also have an interest in obtaining more information about child welfare,” said Dr. Downing.
Pre-service training is integrated into the university’s social work program coursework and field placements. Students complete mandatory pre-service training for DSS prior to graduating, and participate in extra-curricular activities, simulation events, and trauma trainings.
Dr. Downing serves as the program liaison and has developed 10 workshops to address the 22 competencies and learning objectives required for the mandatory pre-service training.
Workshops will be facilitated by community partners Pasquotank County Dept. of Social Services, director Kathy Ford and CPS In-Home Services/Permancy Planning supervisor Lauren Mallory; Stephanie Wyche, Currituck County Dept. of Social Services Child Services supervisor; Kathleen Foreman, Guardian ad Litem district administrator; and ECSU social work faculty, Drs. Melody Brackett, Deborah Riddick, and Kim Downing.
“Program graduates are highly qualified and committed to working at county DSS agencies,” said Dr. Downing. “They are waived from the 72-hour post-employment pre-service training requirement. Graduates also have higher retention rates than typical newly hired child welfare workersandadvance to leadership positions such as supervisors, program administrators, directors.”