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DCF, UCF Team Up To Train Social Workers

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
The University of Central Florida and the Department of Children and Families are partnering to get more social workers employed at the state agency.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is teaming up with the University of Central Florida to get more social workers with a four-year degree working in child welfare.

UCF will coordinate training at 14 public and private schools across the state. The contract is for $5.3 million, and students can earn up to $12,000 in stipends if they agree to work at state agencies for two years when they graduate.

This new program will help implement a 2014 law overhauling the Florida Department of Children and Families. That overhaul came after a Miami Herald investigation found 477 children died after their families had contact with DCF.

The Florida Senate recommended DCF hire more employees with a social work degree. The program moves DCF closer to its goal of getting half of its employees holding a degree in social work.

Last year, DCF received more than 190,000 for possible child abuse, and has more than 262,000 active investigations.

The schools participating include:

  • Barry University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida International University
  • Florida Memorial University
  • Florida State University
  • Saint Leo University
  • Southeastern University
  • University of North Florida
  • University of South Florida
  • University of West Florida
  • Warner University

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFEin Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.