Athens, Ga. – Two University of Georgia students have been awarded the Helen Elizabeth Huey Scholarship, a new scholarship in the School of Social Work that annually supports students who demonstrate a strong desire to protect the interests of children, particularly children growing up in foster care.
Second-year graduate students Kacey Ardoin and Tonia Dalton will receive $2,000 each while they complete social work degrees with a focus on children and families. The scholarship was endowed by UGA alumnus John W. Huey Jr. and his wife, Kate Ellis Huey, in memory of Huey’s sister, Helen Elizabeth Huey, and is awarded annually to two social work students.
“The School of Social Work is grateful to the family of Helen Huey for endowing this scholarship in support of social work education and practice in the area of child services,” said Dean Maurice Daniels. “The scholarship will help the school meet a demand for social workers who are professionally trained to work with disenfranchised children with a special focus on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and placement and support of children with foster and adoptive families.”
According to the National Data Archive, each year in Georgia approximately 6,200 children enter foster care. Georgia’s Office of the Child Advocate has found shortages of trained social workers qualified to handle such cases. This past year, Gov. Nathan Deal, a former juvenile court judge, began a hiring initiative at the Division of Family and Children Services with the goal of better meeting service needs.
Ardoin and Dalton, who anticipate graduating in 2015, were chosen based on their interest in working with children, academic and employment history, letters of recommendation and personal essays.
Ardoin, from Duluth, has been taking coursework related to the care of abused and neglected children and youth. She is currently interning in the children and adolescents unit of Advantage Behavioral Health Systems in Athens, where she conducts intake screenings and therapy sessions, and coordinates physical and mental health services for clients under the age of 18 and their families.
Dalton, from Martinez, California, is a former police dispatcher and foster parent. After adopting the child that she and her husband fostered, she worked for an agency that provided services for children in crisis, many of whom were in foster care. She is now serving a graduate internship at Oakland Meadow School in Lawrenceville, where she works with elementary age special education students who have emotional and behavioral disorders.
Helen Elizabeth Huey, the scholarship’s namesake, served as a caseworker and supervisor of foster child care for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services for more than 25 years before passing away in 1997 at the age of 54. A graduate of Emory University with a master’s degree in social work from Tulane University, Huey devoted her professional life to helping the disadvantaged. During her career she helped families adopt children and mediated difficult child custody cases.
“My sister was passionate about ensuring that disenfranchised children were safe from abuse and neglect,” said her brother, John W. Huey Jr., a 1970 UGA graduate and former editor-in-chief of Time Inc. “We chose the UGA School of Social Work because of its strong focus on both social work education and social justice. Helen would be pleased.”
UGA School of Social Work
Founded in 1964, the University of Georgia School of Social Work provides instruction, research and experiential training in social work practice while emphasizing the integration of social work with social justice. For more information on the School of Social Work, see http://ssw.uga.edu/.