Free education for social work students - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Free education for social work students

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Thomasville- 4E scholarships are funded by the state as part of a program to boost the quality of the Division of Family and Children Services.

     Ceila Mitchell is pursuing her social work degree at Thomas University. But she's unique because she also already works for DFACS. "Why not learn, really, so I can truly positively help these families, empower families," she says.

    Mitchell has been involved with social work for 12 years now, but she says her 4E scholarship is vital for both her and DFACS. "They're trying to get more and more people who have a BSW or an MSW so they can truly stop the recidivism," she says.

    4E students are guaranteed a job with DFACS after graduation. That's a partnership TU social work chair Bill Milford says he couldn't agree with more. "It not only helps reduce the caseload, but it increases the prestige and professionalism of performance of everybody in the office," he says.

     The state wants to add 500 case workers to help an overloaded DFACS staff. "With the caseload numbers they have, they find themselves in a position of not being able to provide the quality of work they want for each case," says Milford."

     That's why people like Mitchell, who want only the best for these families, are such a wanted commodity. "You have to have the tools going in to these families, to use, that are proven, that truly affect change," she says. Change that starts before social work students ever receive their first case.

     4E scholarships cover full tuition and books for social work undergraduates, or those pursuing masters degrees.

Posted by stephen.ryan@walb.com