Academic Partnership In Public Child Welfare 


what is the child welfare office?

The Child Welfare Office is part of the Title IV-E Academic Partnership in Public Child Welfare here at Arkansas Tech University. The Partnership consists of nine universities across the state of Arkansas and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The nine universities of the Partnership are: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; University of Arkansas at Little Rock; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Arkansas Tech University; Harding University; Philander Smith College; Southern Arkansas University; and University of Arkansas at Monticello.

History of the partnership

In 1991, Arkansas received a call to action stressing the need for system-wide reform in its child welfare services. This call came in the form of a class action lawsuit, Angela R. v. Clinton[1]. The lawsuit was settled with the caveat that substantive changes needed to be made to the Arkansas Public Child Welfare System. A Partnership was formed between the Arkansas DCFS, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff to address child welfare reform. Arkansas Tech University joined the Partnership in 1996.

[1] ANGELA R. BY HESSELBEIN v. Clinton, 999 F. 2d 320 - Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit 1993

our role at atu

The Child Welfare Office has three staff members who cover 14 counties throughout the state. They meet with Family Service Workers in the DCFS offices in these counties and guide them through their first year of employment. This includes assisting the workers with home visits, case management, trauma-informed care, poverty versus neglect assessments, risk versus safety assessments, court appearances, etc. The Child Welfare Office has two staff members who have offices on campus. They coordinate field placement / internships for Rehabilitation Science majors to work in DCFS offices around the state of Arkansas, teach Child Welfare classes to ATU students, train Family Service Workers in area wide training events various topics (e.g. Ethics, Social Media, Trauma Informed Care), and assist DCFS offices.

Child welfare Staff

  • Mrs. Beth Branton, Title IV-E Grant Coordinator and Principal Investigator
  • Ms. Ashley McCool, Research Assistant and Platform Trainer
  • Mrs. Kori Toth-Gray, Field Trainer
  • Mrs. Krista Faulkner, Field Trainer
  • Mrs. Haley Thomas, Field Trainer

Additional resources

Our office maintains a library containing educational materials on various topics relating to Child Welfare.

Through the internship placement program, we offer a $5,000 stipend if you meet certain requirements. 

Contact us