15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Eric Jenkins, C.S.W.
State of Utah
Eric Jenkins is a Child Welfare Caseworker Supervisor with the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) in the State of Utah. He began work at DCFS approximately 10 years ago after completing his baccalaureate degree and gaining work experience with a private agency that provided group care for youth in the custody of the State. He devoted eight years to working with a caseload of youth involved with the Independent Living Program and designed strategies to facilitate a successful transition for youth exiting foster care. Mr. Jenkins has become an expert in working with the adolescent population in DCFS custody.
Mr. Jenkins has represented the Western Region of the State in key steering committees, including the Independent Living Program Steering Committee and the Out of Home Steering Committee. His leadership as the chairperson of these committees facilitated implementing better practice guidelines to help caseworkers to understand the importance of working with youth within the context of adolescent development and to identify the key goals for DCFS to focus on with youth in foster care to promote their ability to live successfully as adults.
A key player in planning and implementing the Transition to Adult Living Initiative that was kicked off in November 2004, Mr. Jenkins continues with major reform strategies for building a community-based network of support for youth who will leave foster care as young adults. This initiative has incorporated the concepts that Mr. Jenkins has researched and identified as critical to improving practices in working with youth.
Eric Jenkins is responsible for system improvements in the Western Region that are leading the State in implementing the reform strategies of the Transition to Adult Living design team. He has built strong community partnerships with others who care about youth and has successfully implemented a teamwork approach that has youth taking care of their lives while involved with DCFS and receiving system support to help them prepare for their transition from foster care. This program developed by Mr. Jenkins and the caseworkers he supervises for the Western Region is regarded as a model for the rest of the State.