Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Nevada’s child welfare workers get help from DU institute

Faculty and staff from the University of Denver Butler Institute for Families head to Nevada in early December to take the lead on developing a comprehensive training system for that state’s child welfare workers. 

The institute, part of DU’s Graduate School of Social Work, recently signed a $1.7 million, 18-month contract with the Nevada Child and Family Services Division. 

Executive Director Cathryn Potter and about 10 institute staff members will work with social work faculty from the University of Nevada to design a training system, curriculum, staff training and evaluation for a child welfare system hit hard by urban growth.

“Explosive growth in the Las Vegas area has created huge pressures on Nevada’s child welfare system,” says Potter. “As a national provider of child welfare training and research, the Butler Institute is uniquely qualified to contribute to Nevada’s bold initiative to design a model training system.” 

The Nevada contract expands the Butler Institute’s national prominence and contribution to DU, says Potter. The 13-year-old institute is the sole provider of most mandatory child welfare training for the state of Colorado and has provided child welfare training and policy consultation to more than a dozen other states. After a federal audit found 22 states needing training system improvement, the Butler Institute sponsored a symposium in conjunction with federal agencies to review training system needs and best practices.

“I think we’re a very good example of DU’s commitment to the public good by being a conduit nationally between the academic and practice environments,” says Potter.

The Butler Institute currently has more than $8 million in 1- to 5-year grants and contracts. With an annual budget of $2.5 million, it ranks as one of the University’s most productive institutes.

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