November 21, 2001
SMITH SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LARGEST GRANT IN ITS HISTORY
$680,000 Contract From Annie
E. Casey Foundation Will Fund Study Of
Seven Innovative Family Support Centers On The East Coast
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- With the help
of a $680,000 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a prestigious
national foundation dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged
children and families in the United States, the Smith College
School for Social Work (SCSSW) and Casey Family Services has
embarked on an innovative partnership. (Casey Family Services
is the direct service arm of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.)
The joint project, a three-year study
of Casey Family Services' pioneering Family Resource Centers
(FRCs), is expected to both improve the delivery of services
to children and families and influence the future direction of
social work practice and scholarship.
Under the leadership of principal investigators Joyce Everett,
an expert in child welfare services, and Jim Drisko, a child
therapist and clinical researcher, SCSSW researchers will observe
the development and effectiveness of seven of the FRCs, which
range in location from Maryland to Vermont.
The centers are noted for their fluid, situation-based approach,
in which social workers collaborate with families and local officials
to develop resources, such as counseling, day care, pregnancy
prevention and educational support services, that are specific
to the community's needs. The collaboration between SCSSW and
Casey Family Services will provide the first research-based analysis
of whether and how this model of social service delivery
As researchers studying the evolution of the FRCs, Everett and
Drisko will examine "how decisions were made, why they were
made and how they influenced the development of specific centers,"
In visits to FRC sites, the researchers will also investigate
"the types of challenges each center has experienced and
the strategies that were used to address those challenges,"
says Everett. "Another major area we'll be examining is
each of the centers' efforts to engage in community building-how
they get the community to participate and become interested in
the centers themselves.
"One reason we are interested in this study is that the
FRCs will have an important impact on the way social services
are provided," Everett continues. "And that has implications
for what we teach future social workers. What we learn will be
fed directly back into the School for Social Work curriculum."
Affiliating with leading agencies and foundations is a key goal
of the SCSSW's Center for Innovative Practice. Director Georgina
Lucas, who facilitated the grant proposal, sees the project as
"a wonderful partnership for the school."
"This is the largest grant that the School for Social Work
has ever received," Lucas notes. "The fact that it
represents an affiliation with an agency of such national reputation
is very consistent with Smith's interest in continuing to be
a leader in social work education."
Lucas sees the project as an opportunity for scholarship among
the SCSSW faculty, as a means of gaining new knowledge of community-based
practice and, significantly, as "a vehicle for enhancing
the training of doctoral students, who will be the scholars and
educators of the future."
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private, charitable organization
dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children
in the United States. Its primary mission is to improve public
policies and systems and foster community support to meet the
needs of vulnerable children and families.
Now in its 25th year, Casey Family Services provides a wide array
of comprehensive programs and services for vulnerable children
and families. Through divisions in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, Casey
operates programs in foster care, post-adoption services, family
preservation, family reunification, family advocacy and support,
and provides services for teen parents, young families and families
affected by HIV/AIDS.
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Founded in 1918, the Smith College School for Social Work offers
master's and doctoral degrees in social work with a concentration
in clinical practice. It is one of the oldest and most distinguished
schools for clinical social work in the United States.