University of Maryland School of Social Work Peace Corps Fellows/USA Program
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The SWCOS Fellows/USA option began in 2004 and provides opportunities for Returned Volunteers to combine getting their MSW with community based field placements, often with marginalized populations. Already, twenty two RPCVs have completed or are completing this program. Some examples of SWCOS Fellows placements include:
• Health Care for All: to help advocate for affordable health care for everyone.
• Baltimore City Public Schools: to offer case management and clinical interventions in the city schools.
• International Rescue Committee (IRC): to help immigrant populations through counseling, education, and advocacy.
• Baltimore CASH Campaign: to help residents take advantage of federal earned income tax credit
• St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Belair-Edison Neighborhoods Inc., Greater Homewood Community Corp, Goldstream Homestead Montebello Community Development Corporation: examples of placements citywide to act as neighborhood builders and organizations helping citizens and organizations with individual counseling and needed individual and community services.
Examples of positions taken by recent graduates of the SWCOS Fellows program are in agencies that include: Office of Refugee Resettlement ACF/HHS, Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma, International Youth Foundation, Chemonics, and Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services. www.ssw.umaryland.edu/community_outreach/swcos/
Title IV-E Fellows/USA:
The IV-E Fellows/USA option, with a specialization in Families and Children, began in 2010 as an augmentation of our longstanding IV-E program (which has included several RPCVs) and prepares students for social work practice in public child welfare agencies in Maryland through a partnership with Maryland’s Department of Human Resources. Social workers in public child welfare practice respond to reports of child abuse/neglect, provide services to assist families to safely care for their children, promote child well-being and family stability, recommend permanent family living situations, and provide adoption services for children in state custody. Students agree to an employment commitment in Maryland’s public child welfare system after graduation; this commitment is for 12 months for each academic year of participation.
Students participate in specialized coursework, internships, and training workshops designed to teach best practice in the delivery of public child welfare services. They participate in faculty-led multi-faceted internship programs in local Departments of Social Services. Each jurisdiction focuses on a specific aspect of child welfare practice, including an Urban Child Welfare Project in Baltimore City and a multi-cultural student unit in Montgomery County. Through field internships, students work with families and children through Child Protective Services, Family Preservation, Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Adoption Programs. Coursework, workshops, and field internships integrate a family strengths approach with core child welfare values, knowledge, and skill competencies. The graduates of our Title IV-E program are in nearly every local (county) agency in Maryland. www.family.umaryland.edu/ryc_education_and_training/title_ive_program.htm.
Representative faculty members in both Fellows/USA options are RPCVs. In addition, a new UMSSW faculty member, Jody Olsen, is a recent Peace Corps Deputy Director (2001-2009) as well as an RPCV.
International academic opportunities:
The School also offers four courses with an international focus, two additional international courses beginning Fall 2010, an international field placement in Kerala, India, and an annual international mini-course each January.