Credit for Learning Program ends after 19 years

(CFL Team: Lisa Barrett, Kim Wadlington, Dr. Bibhuti Sar, Katie Price, and Emily Watts)

After 19 years of service to the University of Louisville the Credit for Learning program has come to an end. The program was a partnership between the University of Louisville, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), Eastern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University. The Credit for Learning Program (CFL) began in the Fall of 2002, led by Dr. Bibhuti Sar, this innovative partnership was designed to provide professional development training for Kentucky Child Welfare workers hired by the state during their first six months probationary period on the job. In addition, new or tenured employees interested in applying to either the MSSW/MSW program at UofL, UK, or WKU had the opportunity to earn up to 12 hours of elective credit to be applied to their Master’s degree if they met the requirements and were accepted for admission to that particular Social Work program. 

The CFL program had a mission to professionalize the child welfare workforce. Credit for Learning classes did not follow the typical semester schedule. The program partnered with the Kentucky Cabinet for Community Based Services and utilized a professional development scheduling format offering CFL participants courses in: “Introduction to Child Welfare, Foundations: Core Principles,” “Partnerships in Supporting and Advocating for Children and Adults in Need,” “Enhancing Safety and Permanency of Children, and Assessment,” and “Case Management of Child Sexual Abuse.” In 2012, a Supervisory course series was also introduced to offer additional training to supervisors on the job.  

The CFL Team taught 368 courses, had 7020 participants in physical or virtual classrooms and generated over $11 million inCFL Infographic revenue for the University of Louisville and Kent School of Social Work and Family Science.  Team members: Lisa Barrett taught 159 courses in 19 years and 2808 participants, Emily Watts taught 18 courses in 6 years and 403 participants, and Kim Wadlington (retired in 2020) taught 142 courses in 18 years and 2,601 participants. Admissions, registrations, and the day to day logistics of delivering the program were managed by CFL Coordinator Katie Price.

Even though the CFL program is coming to an end after 19 years, the reach and impact of the CFL Team and program lives on in all the child welfare workers who commit themselves to engaging in best practices to ensure safety, permanency, and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and families involved with the child welfare system.  It has been a tremendous honor to work with our CFL Team (Lisa Barrett, Katie Price, Emily Watts, and Kim Wadlington) and other university and state partners to further the professional development of the child welfare workforce,” said Dr. Bibhuti Sar, Credit for Learning Principal Investigator/Project Director.

Although the Kent School CFL Team is small, collectively they have made a tremendous impact in the professional education of child welfare workers. In addition to teaching thousands of program participants, the program was a national model for university-child welfare agency partnerships. Several articles on the work, evaluation, and impact of the CFL program have been published over the years in the International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education, Journal of Public Child Welfare, and the National Council on Family Relations professional research journals.


Article written by Diandre Glover Thomas