Professor Alicia Kaplan
Alicia Kaplan, Assistant Professor and JMSW Co-Field Director, continues to work with the Foster Care Chronicles project. The goal of the Foster Care Chronicles project, primarily funded by the HRSA JMSW Behavioral Health Training Grant through the Department of Social Work at UNCG, The UNCG School of Theater, and Triad Stage, is to help people in the Foster Care System create and perform a production based on their first person accounts. It will give regional youth aged 15-25 who are or were in Foster Care a unique opportunity to use the arts to boost their overall psychological well being. A program like this gives kids purpose: They learn to share their experiences, support each other, act, become confident public speakers, and develop into advocates and teachers through theater. They form a new support network, increase their sense of belonging, and ultimately begin the transition to becoming healthy adult members of our community, all while having fun. Our participants transform themselves and the future of our community as they teach others what it is like to walk in the shoes of a “Foster Kid.”
Dr. Jay Poole (Social Work) received additional funding from the Annie Penn Community Trust for the project “Congregational Social Work Education Initiative (CSWEI) Expansion into Rockingham County (subcontract with Annie Penn/Cone Health).” This project will create a congregational nursing program in Rockingham County, provide two paid congregational nurses to work with Hispanic and homeless residents and connect these individuals to existing primary medical homes. In doing so, it will expand access to care by creating established pathways that members of vulnerable populations within a rural county can use to access affordable medical care. It will also strengthen the safety net by increasing collaboration between safety net organizations across the county as it will utilize and expand a shared eligibility and enrollment process. The abstract further notes that the Congregational Social Work Education Initiative will be a partner in this project and social work students from UNCG and NC A&T will be involved in this community-engaged effort.
Dr. Jeffrey Shears
Dr. Jeffrey Shears, Director of the Joint Master of Social Work Program at NC A&T, shared his research on the topic. He highlights shocking statistics that individuals from fatherless homes account for:
- 63% of youth suicides,
- 85% of children with behavioral disorders,
- 71% of high school dropouts,
- 70% of youth in state institutions,
- and 85% of rapists motivated by displaced anger.
He says these facts prove exploring the mental health of fatherless youth in regards to anger must take place. His analysis is featured in a documentary called, “Spit’in Anger.” The film is currently on a national tour, and showcases the issues young African American men endure due to an absent father.