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BCU Professor and Student Speak at National Child Welfare Conference in Alaska

Promoting Social Justice and Change in Indian Child Welfare Practice

Heather Craig-Oldsen, associate professor of social work and department chairperson at Briar Cliff University, and Gwen Vargas-Porter, a Briar Cliff senior social work major and member of the Omaha Tribe, presented a workshop at the National Indian Child Welfare Conference, held recently in Anchorage, Alaska.

SIOUX CITY, IOWA (Catholic Online) - In their presentation, titled "Promoting Social Justice and Change in Indian Child Welfare Practice through Collaborative Development of Native American Bachelor of Social Work Students," Craig-Oldsen and Vargas-Porter addressed the strengths of the Siouxland community and related its work to improve child welfare services to Native American families and children.

"We described Briar Cliff's model for developing social workers to specialize in child welfare," Craig-Oldsen said. "Representing the Omaha Tribe and a parent of six birth and adopted children, Gwen presented a valuable perspective of Native families in Siouxland," she explained.

Participants at the conference were impressed with the hands-on work Briar Cliff social work students have accomplished in Siouxland," said Vargas-Porter, who is in the Siouxland Indian Child Welfare Traineeship Program at BCU and will graduate in May.

The national conference attracted nearly 1,000 participants from the U.S. and Canada. Briar Cliff University is currently recruiting Native American students who are interested in pursuing a career in child welfare. Students interested in becoming a child welfare trainee at Briar Cliff should contact the BCU admissions for fall enrollment at 712-279-5200.

Briar Cliff University is a Catholic institution with an enrollment of more than 1,150 students from 29 states and 11 countries. Students are educated in the Franciscan tradition of excellence in the liberal arts and career preparation in an environment of care, compassion and service. For more information, please visit briarcliff.edu.

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Keywords: social justice, Alaska, Iowa, native american, child welfare, Anchorage



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