"Child welfare practice is demanding and important work. Child welfare workers must be well-supported so they can provide supportive services to families. My research focuses on improvement of child welfare workplace culture, effective use of technology, and family-centered and culturally-informed practice approaches, including Indian Child Welfare Act compliance."
Child welfare culture; Indian Child Welfare Act; social work technology; family-centered child welfare practice; technology in social work; distance education
Melanie Sage joined the University of Buffalo in 2017. Her research and scholarship areas include the use of technology in social work education and practice, the intersections of technology use and child welfare practice, family-centered child welfare practice, and child welfare practice with indigenous families. She has received over $5 million in funding as a PI /Co-I for work in the area of child welfare and is currently the PI on a federal demonstration grant to improve Indian Child Welfare Act compliance. She has also led an evaluation on the use of Family Team Decision Meetings with indigenous families, and has developed numerous curriculum and training for child welfare students and practitioners.
In the area of technology, Sage has provided continuing education training for over 1,000 social work practitioners in the ethical use of technology and social media. She is the co-chair of the technology track committee for CSWE's APM, a board member for the national non-profit husITa, a group dedicated to promoting the ethical and effective use of technology in human services, and a co-moderator of a 1,400 member electronic group called Social Work and Technology, and co-chair of the Social Work Grand Challenge Harnessing Technology for Social Good. She has presented nationally and internationally on the effective use of technology in social work education, and spent three years as a BSSW Program Director, launching a successful distance-delivered synchronous BSW program for rural and tribal students.
Sage has taught primarily in the areas of individual and family interventions, and enjoys teaching applied use of evidence-based practice. As an instructor, she also enjoys working with students on effective ways to use technology to connect and disseminate information, such as through use of infographics, video creation, and other tech tools for practice from micro to macro levels. Her practice experience includes service as a child welfare practitioner in three states, as well as a child welfare trainer. She has also worked in psychiatric social work, Veteran’s Administration homeless veterans programming, as a forensic interviewer, in clinical private practice, and as a clinical licensure supervisor. She has received awards for engaged scholarship and community service, and currently serves on CSWE's Council on Conferences and Professional Development.