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UNF partners with Family Support Services to offer a new child welfare training program

student working with a little girl on her lettersThe University of North Florida and Family Support Services of North Florida have partnered together to develop a new Child Welfare Training Program. This program will provide the local field experience required for state certification exams for UNF undergraduate students who want to work in the area of child welfare. 


The Child Welfare Program will prepare UNF students for child welfare practice after graduation by providing a pathway for students to complete the needed requisites, including the state-mandated pre-service training curriculum, and obtain real world field experience.

To gain agency experience, UNF students will work with case managers and others at Family Support Services or with its local case management organizations including Daniel, Jewish Family and Community Services, National Youth Advocate Program and FSS Nassau Service Center.

“This hands-on experience will reduce pre-service training costs to local agencies and enhance UNF students’ employability upon graduation,” said Megan Richard, vice president of workforce support and development for Family Support Services of North Florida.

Richard further states, “This initiative will bring awareness to the impact that professionals in child welfare have on the community while further professionalizing the position and elevating it as a desirable career path. Our strong partnership with UNF has been crucial in making this a reality.”

UNF students will be prepared to pass the certification exam and become employed as certified child welfare case managers upon graduation. “Integrating field education and mentorship with academic courses will better prepare students for child welfare practice, reducing turnover among the local child welfare workforce and improving service delivery,” said UNF Associate Professor Dr. Jennifer Spaulding-Givens.

This innovative program provides an opportunity for students to be instructed and mentored by child welfare professionals who will help them truly understand this dynamic field.  Spaulding-Givens stated, “By working alongside the leading community-based care providers in the state, our students will have a better understanding of child welfare practices that will ultimately benefit Jacksonville’s most vulnerable youth and families.”