Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Initiating New Community and Field Education Partnerships: The Congregational Social Work Education Initiative

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Initiating New Community and Field Education Partnerships: The Congregational Social Work Education Initiative

Article excerpt

Abstract

The Congregational Social Work Education Initiative is an innovative community based field education program which prepares students to work in interdisciplinary teams in a non-traditional setting. Master and bachelor level social work students from North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro provide social work services to Greensboro area congregants. Partnering with nurses from the Congregational Nurse Program, the social work intern and congregational nurse provide direct or indirect health, mental health, and wellness services to designated churches and other faith based institutions. The Council on Social Work Education has identified social work field education as the signature pedagogy for social work education (CSWE, 2008). Accordingly, social work field education has a special responsibility for preparing students for effective practice with individuals, families, and communities. This field education model is funded by community health foundations to prepare BSW and MSW students for professional practice in congregational and community-based settings. The program's history, operation, and structure is reviewed; outcomes and implication for social work practice and field education are discussed.

Key words: Social work internship; Social work education; Fieldwork; Partnerships; Congregational social work; Interdisciplinary model; Religiously Affiliated Organizations (RAOs)

INTRODUCTION

At the start of a new academic year in August 2007, the Joint Master of Social Work Program in Greensboro, North Carolina, launched a new field education venture - The Congregational Social Work Education Initiative (CSWEI). North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCA&TSU) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) created and operate a single master of social work program which opened in 1997. The universities have a rich history of cooperation with managing a joint undergraduate social work internship program since 1978. The Council on Social Work Education has identified that field education as the signature pedagogy for social work education. The success of any field education experience is dependent upon having students complete their field education experience within community-based programs and services. However, such training opportunities have changed, which has placed more pressure in locating quality field educational sites or in the development of new models.

Recently, social work field education in North Carolina has been affected by forces outside of its control. With the slowing economy and the reduction of funding for health and mental health care services in the state and communities, numerous service providers have been forced to shrink their operations, reduce available programs, reduce staff, and pressure many small agencies to merge or close their doors. One major impact has been the state's decision to radically reform the delivery of mental health services starting in 1997; by 2001 a greater effort was made to privatize and contract out both clinical and support services. The new plan separated the management of mental health services from delivery of services. This resulted in the closure of traditional community based mental health centers to assess and provide services. The new push was to a new structure of regional managed-care organizations to refer or direct prospective recipients to use private providers to obtain mental health services (Coletti, 2008; Fullwood, 2001). For social work education, field education opportunities would be reduced significantly. No longer in North Carolina would traditional mental health centers be the major setting to train new baccalaureate or master social work students for entry into the profession. Today in North Carolina there are 12 graduate and 23 undergraduate social work programs in the state. Competition is keen for quality field internship placements. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.