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Students dispel myths about Child Protective Services

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the MSW students in Wanda Reives‘ Foundation Field Seminar class set out to educate their peers about ways social workers can better serve families in distress.

In any field of social work, from infants to older adults, education to substance abuse, there is a high chance of interacting with Child Protective Services (CPS). Despite the high prevalence of shared clients with CPS, there are still a lot of misconceptions or lack of information on how CPS operates, even among helping professionals.

On April 8, nine School of Social Work students who are currently placed in child welfare agencies gave an informational presentation for their fellow students.  The objective was to provide a greater understanding of the experiences of foster children, and to recognize ways to work together with CPS social workers to better serve their clients.

The presentation was structured by addressing common myths about CPS, particularly about its guiding principles and core values. For example, the systems of care principle are practiced by partnering with individuals and families, identifying and utilizing strengths, and observing family-centered practices. The presentation also guided the audience through a CPS process — from intake, assessment, foster care, court proceedings and adoptions.

“We commend these students for taking the initiative to dispel some of the myths about CPS,” said Reives. “Their presentation was a great example of the professional knowledge and skills the graduates of our Child Welfare Education Collaborative program take to the county departments of social services. They make me proud.”