Project Overview

Origins of the Project
On October 1, 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Serices awarded the Family and Children's Resource Program, part of the Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, a five-year grant (US ACYF 2003C.2) to develop training to enhance the effectiveness of child welfare workers and supervisors who serve rural communities. Similar grants were also awarded to the following organizations:

  1. Portland State Univ., Portland, OR
  2. San Diego State Univ. Foundation, San Diego, CA
  3. Sonoma State Univ., Rohnert Park, CA
  4. Southwest Missouri State Univ., Springfield, MO
  5. Southwest Texas State Univ., San Marcos, TX

Participating Counties

This project is being conducted in partnership with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and 14 rural North Carolina counties:

  • Seven from the Southern Highlands of the Appalachian mountains (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain Counties), and

  • Seven from northeastern North Carolina (Bertie, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, and Warren Counties).

Despite their unique histories and cultures, the challenges facing these counties are similar to those faced in most rural areas—especially those in the mountains and the coastal plains of the southeastern United States.

Working with these specific North Carolina counties will enable this project to create educational products and strategies that will be useful to rural child welfare practitioners in the Southeast and across the country.

Project Goals and Objectives
The overall goal of the Rural Success Project is to develop training to enhance the effectiveness of child welfare workers and supervisors who serve rural communities

Project objectives include:

  1. Identifying and capturing success stories from child welfare practitioners and the rural families they serve for use in curriculum development and community outreach efforts;
  2. Developing a training curriculum for rural child welfare supervisors and line workers;
  3. Conducting specialized cross-training for child welfare agencies and their community partners;
  4. Using community engagement dialogues and state and rural child welfare summits to galvanize rural communities around the tasks of achieving child safety, permanence, and well-being;
  5. Evaluating and disseminating project findings and lessons learned to leading child welfare and social work journals.

The client outcomes that will be used to assess this project include child safety, child permanence, and well-being. Project activities will be conducted in child welfare agencies (and their communities) in North Carolina.

Project products include a multi-module curriculum, tools for conducting agency and community engagement dialogues, a guide for helping States develop rural child welfare outreach strategies, proceedings from state and national summits, annual evaluation reports, and related articles and publications. These products will be made available throughout North Carolina and disseminated nationally.

UNC-CH School of Social Work
The faculty of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill comprises 25 tenured and tenure-track faculty—including seven distinguished professors--and more than 50 research and clinical faculty. The members represent diverse interests and specializations and have a distinguished record of scholarly achievement. All faculty members engage in research and consistently publish and present their findings. In the most recent U.S. News and World Report ranking of schools of social work, the UNC-CH School ranked ninth overall among the more than 120 schools and fourth among schools of social work in public universities.

The Jordan Institute for Families, part of the School of Social Work, is a resource for North Carolina and the nation. Named for one of North Carolina’s most prominent families and in recognition of support from Michael Jordan, the institute has one goal: to strengthen families.

© UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work
Last revised: June 21, 2005

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