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November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6Minnesota Program Offers Certificate in Child Abuse Prevention Studies

Child Abuse Prevention Studies (CAPS) is a unique, two-year, interdisciplinary, post-baccalaureate certificate program housed within the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. Beginning with the 1999-2000 academic year, CAPS became part of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA).

Based on the premise that the economic, as well as emotional, costs of child abuse clearly indicate that prevention is cheaper than treatment, CAPS provides students and professionals with specialized training in child abuse prevention in order to work effectively with children and their families. Students earn an accredited certificate from the University by taking evening courses once per week for one or two years. The curriculum is intended to provide students with skills to develop research-based, practical programs that prevent or reduce harm to children.

Initiated in 1989, CAPS started off by conducting a roundtable of community leaders and a statewide survey about professional training needs. The initial curriculum was created in 1990, and the first cohort of students began in 1992. Between 1989 and 2000, CAPS provided specialized training for over 350 students via classroom teaching and interactive television, and has awarded over 165 certificates. CAPS students include social service professionals, early childhood educators, public health professionals, law enforcement and legal professionals, advocates, health care providers, teachers and administrators, guardians ad litem, post-baccalaureate and graduate students, and anyone else working with children, their families and the organizations serving them.

An interdisciplinary group of University of Minnesota faculty advises CAPS through a project called Child Abuse Prevention: Building an Interdisciplinary Perspective. Among experts on the faculty team are Jeffrey L. Edleson, School of Social Work; Marti Farrell Erickson, Children, Youth, and Family Consortium; Barbara Leonard, School of Nursing; and Mary A. McEvoy, College of Education and Human Development. The faculty team serves as advisors in CAPS curriculum development and course delivery, and provides training through a series of campus lectures and seminars.

To learn more about the CAPS program, browse the CAPS website at or contact the CAPS office at (612) 624-0721.

For information on university and college BSW and MSW Programs that place a specific emphasis on pre-professional education and training for the child welfare workforce, visit the Child Welfare Training Resources Online Network at: (this link is no longer available)