University of Pittsburgh
March 14, 2000



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, March 15 -- The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work is offering caseworkers, supervisors, and other child welfare employees the opportunity to earn a master's degree at Pitt or any of five other approved schools across the state, thanks to a $6 million grant for an ongoing

Pitt-administered program called Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL), the only program of its kind in Pennsylvania.

CWEL participants receive substantial financial support while in school, as well as full tuition, fees, and a book allowance. Eligible applicants already must have an academic degree and must have been employed at the same public child welfare agency for at least one year. They also must agree to return to the same agency from which they were granted leave, upon completion of their studies. The deadline for this year's applicants is April 30.

The primary goal is to strengthen child welfare services in Pennsylvania, according to Edward W. Sites, professor in Pitt's School of Social Work and director of the program. "During 1998, there were 25,898 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect investigated by public child welfare agencies across the state," Sites said. "An enormous amount of information and great skill are required to complete these investigations, to assure the safety of every child, and to link those children and families with the services they need. This program provides that training."

Since CWEL's inception in 1995, nearly 300 child welfare employees from 46 Pennsylvania counties have enrolled. In addition to Pitt, other participating graduate programs are at Bryn Mawr College, Marywood University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, and Widener University. Funding for the program is provided by the United State Department of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

To apply, social workers may contact Edward W. Sites at 412-624-6305 or Caroline C. Donohue at 412-624-6387.