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Child Welfare Advocates Gather at Union

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 30, 2003 – Nearly 200 child welfare advocates from across Jackson and West Tennessee gathered Sept. 30 for an inaugural continuing education workshop sponsored by Union University’s social work program.

“Healing the Hurts” was the focus of the one-day conference featuring Vanessa Brown an international expert on child welfare and a professor at Southern Illinois University. Brown said its time for social workers to reexamine the way cases are handled.

“One of the biggest issues facing children in child welfare is that we look at problems instead of looking at strengths,” Brown said. “We want to change attitudes. During our conference we walked everyone through a case, pointing out the strengths of the case, not the problems.”

Brown is the author of Child Welfare Case Studies, published by Allyn and Bacon, 2002.

Brown said she was glad to see a Christian university take a strong interest in social work programs.

“We all know that the grace and mercy that gets children through rough times needs to come from the message that Christians deliver,” she said.

In addition to professional social workers, a number of Union’s social work majors were invited to the workshop. Roslyn Wilson, associate professor of social work and the university’s social work field director, said students will benefit from the continuing education workshops.

“We encourage our majors to network and this type of event allows that to happen,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she was pleased with the turnout for the inaugural event and she said another event will be planned during the spring semester.

“We want to offer continuing education for our community, especially in West Tennessee,” she said. “And this has been an excellent start. We want people to know that we are passionate about families here at Union University.”

The event was co-sponsored by Pathways, Tennessee Voices for Children, the Department of Family and Children Services – Southwest, and AdvoCare.

For more information on Union’s social work program, call (731) 661-5397.

Media contact: Todd Starnes, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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