MU program gives social workers tools to strengthen relationships, marriages

September 02, 2011

COLUMBIA, Mo. -Child welfare professionals know that children are safer and healthier when the adults in their lives have healthy relationships, but most social workers are not trained to educate couples about strong relationships and marriages. Researchers at the University of Missouri are working to train child welfare professionals and future social workers to help individuals and families strengthen their relationships.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training (HRMET), is a five-year project facilitated by MU Extension and David Schramm, assistant professor of human development and family studies and state extension specialist in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. The purpose of the project is to develop training programs that give child welfare workers basic tools to foster positive relationships. The ultimate goal is to improve the stability and well-being of children by helping their parents and caregivers form and maintain strong couple and marital relationships.

"Many parents face multiple stressors that can weaken their couple relationships and spill over into parent-child relationships," Schramm said. "If social workers can teach parents to be more kind, understanding and respectful in their couple relationships, the result will be safer, happier environments for children."

HRMET's curriculum is two-pronged: a graduate-level course for social work students at MU and online and one-day training sessions for child welfare professionals. Both courses give current and future social workers simple tools to help parents choose partners, manage conflict and remain committed in their relationships.

"Most social work graduate programs focus on helping children, so the subject of healthy relationships for parents tends to be left out," Schramm said. "This project is exciting because the fields of human development and family studies and social work are merging for the first time to create better tools for child welfare professionals."

The graduate course is being taught for the second time this fall; six workshops were offered in the summer for social work professionals. More than 200 social workers throughout the state have received training and the feedback indicates that it is meeting a need within the profession.

"I learned a great deal about communication within couples, different communication styles and how to teach partners to communicate positively," said a HRMET participant. "As a child welfare worker, I can now identify problems within clients' relationships, explain to couples how their relationships affect their children, and offer them tools to help open the lines of communication."
-end-
The project, which started in 2008, is wrapping up its third year of research and curricula development. Project leaders, including faculty from universities around the U.S., hope to expand the program nationally.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Relationships Articles from Brightsurf:

Gorilla relationships limited in large groups
Mountain gorillas that live in oversized groups may have to limit the number of strong social relationships they form, new research suggests.

Electronic surveillance in couple relationships
Impaired intimacy, satisfaction, and infidelity in a romantic relationship can fuel Interpersonal Electronic Surveillance (IES).

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.

We can make predictions about relationships - but is this necessary?
'Predictions as to the longevity of a relationship are definitely possible,' says Dr Christine Finn from the University of Jena.

Disruptions of salesperson-customer relationships. Is that always bad?
Implications from sales relationship disruptions are intricate and can be revitalizing.

Do open relationships really work?
Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond.

The 7 types of sugar daddy relationships
University of Colorado Denver researcher looks inside 48 sugar daddy relationships to better understand the different types of dynamics, break down the typical stereotype(s) and better understand how these relationships work in the United States.

Positive relationships boost self-esteem, and vice versa
Does having close friends boost your self-esteem, or does having high self-esteem influence the quality of your friendships?

Strong family relationships may help with asthma outcomes for children
Positive family relationships might help youth to maintain good asthma management behaviors even in the face of difficult neighborhood conditions, according to a new Northwestern University study.

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a 'type'
Researchers at the University of Toronto show that people do indeed have a 'type' when it comes to dating, and that despite best intentions to date outside that type -- for example, after a bad relationship -- some will gravitate to similar partners.

Read More: Relationships News and Relationships Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.