The Idaho Child Welfare Research and Training Center (ICWRTC) was initially conceived in 1993, when Eastern Washington University (EWU) partnered with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare in the interests of creating a small, one-person office where Master of Social Work (MSW) students from the EWU School of Social Work would be able to receive real-life, first-hand field experience working with children and families.
ICWRTC officially opened in 1997 as a full-fledged Center offering a wide variety of child welfare services, including substance abuse training and child guardianship advocacy. In 2000, a significant change and reevaluation of the Center’s policy of exclusive hiring of graduate students. After examining the Center’s needs, EWU and IDHW both agreed to enter into a partnership with state colleges and universities to recruit potential undergraduate Child Welfare Workers and partnerships were forged with Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, College of Southern Idaho, North Idaho College, and Northwest Nazarene University in 2001.
In 2002, ICWRTC became a partner with the Foster Parent Initiative and began involvement in foster parenting and pre-adoption work. Using the Child Welfare League of America’s PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) Resource Family Curriculum, the Center began training parents, foster parents, caregivers, social workers and many others.
In 2006, in response to both the rising number of Idaho children being placed in foster care and rising rates of Child Welfare Worker turnover, the Idaho Child Welfare Partnership between the IDHW, Casey Family Programs, EWU, and Boise State University was announced. In an effort to develop a uniform “best practice” for child welfare work, the ICWP formally utilized the PRIDE model; ICWRTC subsequently became an even more significant source of PRIDE worker training. ICWRTC continues to provide the latest PRIDE training today.
In 2007, the IDHW helped to develop and implement a new program called Peer Recruitment Mentoring (RPM). The program paid foster parents to act as Recruiter Peer Mentors (RPM’s) to share their knowledge and experience with potential resource families for the purpose of recruitment and retention. ICWRTC hired an RPM Coordinator in 2008 and began developing a system of processes and procedures within the Center that would strengthen the RPM program and increase its effectiveness as a resource family recruitment tool. Like ICWRTC’s PRIDE training programs, the Center is still currently implementing the RPM program.
In 2015, ICWRTC was awarded the State of Washington Recruitment and Retention Program for Region 1 North and South.
Today, the Idaho Child Welfare Research & Training Center continues to provide the state of Idaho with Child Welfare Workers, Trainers, Leaders and Advocates with a genuine heart for children and families.