Presented on March 23, 2022
Minnesota’s child welfare system faced a crisis in 2014 following the death of four-year-old Eric Dean at the hands of his step-mother and subsequent community outcry. Significant system reform soon followed with one of three main focuses on the training of child welfare professionals. The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Human Services partnered to study state training models and together, developed and passed multi-million dollar legislative policy. Substantial legislation and funding was passed in 2019 and the partners have since implemented an innovative state/university training model. Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare Executive Director Traci LaLiberte and Jamie Sorenson, Director of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services’ Division of Child Safety and Permanency, will discuss this model, the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy, and their commitment to developing and supporting Minnesota’s child welfare workforce.
About the presenters
Dr. Traci LaLiberte is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of child welfare and disabilities. She is the executive director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the School of Social Work, a faculty member for the interdisciplinary LEND program, and provides leadership and oversight for the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy. She is an expert in the areas of child welfare, disabilities, juvenile justice, families and children, and administrative data. Her research has resulted in 27 peer reviewed articles, 77 juried presentations, 52 invited presentations, 10 book chapters, 30 training products, and 98 research reports and other publications.
Jamie Sorenson provides leadership to the state’s child welfare system as director of the Child Safety and Permanency Division for the Department of Human Services. He oversees child safety and prevention; family support and placement services; adoption; Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy; American Indian child welfare; child welfare research, evaluation, data and continuous quality improvement; and legislative and policy coordination. Sorenson is responsible for leading and implementing a vision for the division’s future. Mr. Sorenson has nearly thirty years of child welfare experience and has dedicated his career to helping children and families.