Social Work receives $650,000 award for partnership to improve child welfare workforce

The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation’s social services department has partnered with UND social work and the Native American Training Institute to win one of eight national grants for child workforce excellence. The award is $650,000.

The Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation’s Social Services Department applied in partnership with UND social work and the Native American Training Institute (NATI) to become one of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI)’s child welfare workforce excellence sites.

MHA Nation Social Services Department is one of eight sites—five non-tribal jurisdictions and three tribal child welfare programs— selected from a national pool. The purpose of the Workforce Excellence project is to build organizational capacity and workforce effectiveness in their child welfare workforce, and is part of a $24 million award from the U.S. Children’s Bureau.

Having been awarded a five-year NCWWI award in 2013 to provide stipends to social work students willing to work in western North Dakota child welfare agencies during the oil boom, UND Social Work is proud and excited to be the University Partner for this project. 60% of the $650,000 award will provide educational stipends to students in UND’s BSSW and MSW programs who want to practice in approved child welfare settings with Native children, youth and families in North Dakota. The Native American Training Institute (NATI) will provide curricular support and will partner with UND Social Work across the state to ensure informed distribution of these stipends to interested current and prospective students, prioritizing the social service programs within each of North Dakota’s four sovereign tribal nations: MHA Nation Social Services Department, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Social Services, Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians’ Department of Child Welfare & Family Services.

The MHA Nation Social Services Department will receive technical assistance and support in implementing a Workforce Excellence site to improve organizational practices to support the child welfare workforce and effective practice. The MHA Nation Social Services Department, under the leadership of Kathy Felix, LSW and UND alumna, will begin this implementation May, 2019.