Date of Award

Spring 3-8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

D.S.W. Social work


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Janice Gasker

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Shelley

Third Advisor

Dr. John Vafeas


This work presents a comprehensive study of the effectiveness of a social work informed casework training curriculum specifically developed for use with paraprofessionals, those without a four-year degree, working in a social service agency. Many studies have been written outlining the benefits of paraprofessional support in social service agencies, but little exists in how to properly train and support those paraprofessionals in their job roles. This study was designed to evaluate a new training curriculum to be utilized in meeting that need within the field. Multiple inferential analyses were conducted using pre-/post-test scores of 143 participants working in a national non-profit agency across multiple states. There were two primary research questions explored for this study. Does this training curriculum increase participants’ knowledge of best practice interventions for service delivery to vulnerable individuals and adults? Does this training curriculum increase paraprofessional participants’ knowledge of best practice interventions for service delivery to vulnerable individuals and adults? Inferential analyses found that there was a significant difference between pre-/post-test scores of paraprofessionals and professionals trained utilizing the Social Work Informed Casework Training Curriculum. This study has led to recommendations of evaluation of current new-hire training, and on-going training and support programs within social service agencies utilizing paraprofessionals to provide support to vulnerable populations. This study recommends an evaluation, and possible future study, around on-going training, and supervision for professionals within social service agencies. An evaluation of the transfer of evidence-based and best practice knowledge the field could prove valuable to social work programs preparing professionals for leadership roles within agencies.



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