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The North Wind

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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

DHS works with accredited social work schools

Graduating students who wish to pursue a career in child welfare services will get a leg up from a new certificate offered by the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS).

The certificate in child welfare will be available to students in accredited social work bachelor’s programs, such as the one offered at NMU.

In order to qualify for the certificate, students need only take the child welfare elective course, along with meeting all other requirements for accredited Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) programs, according to a press release by the DHS.

“(The certification) will make our social work programs more attractive,” said Tim Hilton an assistant professor of social work and the director of NMU’s BSW program.

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Though the child welfare certificate doesn’t require any changes be made with NMU’s social work program, the certificate will help students find jobs working with children, said Hilton.

In addition, offering the certification will make NMU more attractive to prospective students, Hilton said.

“Generally, people who are interested in going into a child welfare field take the class. (With this certificate) it shows that applicants already have training,” he said.

The social work department has been working with the DHS and the registrar to possibly offer the certification, which could be offered as early as next fall, Hilton said.

In order to be certified, students at NMU must take a BSW elective, SW 401 Child Welfare, which covers the responsibilities of child welfare workers, specifically in abuse and neglect cases.

Students who take this class and receive certification would be exempt from some additional training by the Michigan DHS that is generally required of those going into the child welfare field, Hilton said.

The actual certification would be noted on a student’s official transcript, he said.

Social work is a broad area of expertise, said Cornell Dejong, a professor of social work field placement coordinator for the BSW program at NMU.

Many current child welfare workers come from different backgrounds. Some are even without a degree in social work, he said.

“There’s currently no requirement that you need a degree in social work to work in child welfare. The new certificate helps organize (job candidates). If a student wants to work in child welfare in Michigan, there’s no reason not to get it,” he said.

Sky VanHouten, a senior social work major, said that she would take the certification “in a heartbeat.”
VanHouten, who has already taken the child welfare class offered by the BSW program, said the knowledge she gained from the class was very helpful.

“I know that a lot of jobs I might be getting in the future would involve children, so taking this class would give me a step ahead,” VanHouten said.

Some of the topics covered in the child welfare class included family rights, neglect and abuse cases, reporting and investigating cases and case management, among others, she said.

VanHouten recommends the class to any social work majors considering working with children.

“It sounds like it would be worth taking the training to further my knowledge before being pushed out in the real world,” she said.

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