Calgary Herald

Province to boost social work training


The University of Calgary will expand the number of social workers it trains and develop a new childinter­vention curriculum in a move aimed at helping what Premier Dave Hancock called “some of the most vulnerable people in Alberta — children within our child protection system.”

The provincial government and the university announced Thursday that $1.3 million from the provincial budget will add 25 new spaces for students and practition­ers to complete their Bachelor of Social Work online, a figure that will grow to 100 by 2017.

The number of Master of Social Work spots will also increase by 25 as of January 2015.

The government is also putting $100,000 toward the developmen­t of a stronger focus on child protection within the social work curriculum.

“Ensuring the protection and wellbeing of our children is one of the most important responsibi­lities of society as a whole,” Hancock said at a news conference at the university.

The announceme­nt follows an investigat­ion by the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal that showed 145 children had died in provincial care over 14 years, triple the number that had been publicly reported.

Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar said the changes at the university are part of the government’s commitment to improve the child welfare system. He said the new child-interventi­on curriculum will be developed in tandem by the ministry and the university, and those trained in the program will have “very specific skills” to help children in need.

“The better-equipped these men and women are for the challenges they will face, the more likely we will have positive outcomes for the children and families,” said Bhullar.

Increased online training will also allow for more social workers in remote areas, he said.

Jackie Sieppert, dean of the faculty of social work at the university, said child interventi­on will become an area of specializa­tion for students using existing courses and profession­al placements. There are currently about 100 students studying online out of around 800 enrolled in the faculty of social work, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada