The complexities of the contemporary American family call for innovative and coordinated approaches to service delivery between health, mental health and protective service agencies.
The Judith Granger Birmingham Center for Child Welfare serves as a research and resource center for Texas, the Southwest, and the nation in the advancement and dissemination of knowledge to improve the conditions of vulnerable children and their families. Research, education, and dissemination efforts address the basic rights of children to be nurtured and protected by their families with the support of their communities.
The current child welfare system lacks coordination and resources to meet the complex needs of children today. As a result, advocates for children and families are calling for major reform of the system and the services it provides.
The overarching goal of the Center is to help equip child welfare practitioners with current, detailed, and scientific knowledge about effective practice models, ways to support the adequate development of children and families, and strategies to preserve families. The foundation of knowledge in the past thirty years has resulted in an extensive body of knowledge concerning the causes and correlates of risk in parent-child relationships, practice models that can ameliorate these risk factors for families, and concrete steps in decision making that can identify the most appropriate services to achieve positive outcomes for children.
The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, through the Judith Granger Birmingham Center for Child Welfare, has become an important part of the national child welfare reform effort. No other such center exists in the Southwest, and few others exist in the country. The School is uniquely qualified as the site of the Center because of the combination of a nationally recognized faculty with expertise in child welfare practice innovations, technology development, and a long-standing partnership with child welfare practitioners at the local, state, and national level.
- To develop, conduct, and disseminate major research to address important policies and practice influencing the lives of children and families.
- To serve as a resource center to child welfare advocates, practitioners, and policy makers.
- To professionalize child welfare practice through the training of professional social workers for a career in child welfare services, and the development of a certification program for practitioners.
- To deliver competency-based training to child welfare practitioners to improve service delivery.
- To provide assistance to, and promote collaboration among, national, state, and local public and private child welfare institutions.