Dr. Melanie Sage expands social work research into child-welfare studies

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines


Dr. Melanie Sage, Assistant Professor of Social Work, has been recognized by the Grand Forks Herald for her efforts to expand research into child-welfare studies within the state of North Dakota. Sage currently oversees two grants worth nearly $300,000. The grants provide funding to Dr. Sage for researching the state's child-welfare laws and programs, making Dr. Sage the only social-worker researcher in the state currently responsible for this area of scholarly research.

The grants will provide Sage with invaluable resources to determine compliance of the state's courts in regards to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act provisions (ICWA), and how the state can improve inclusion of Indian families in child welfare issues. Sage is currently working with state and community organizations, including the North Dakota Commission of Indian Affairs, to secure an additional $5 million grant. The funds would be spent focusing on a transition program for North Dakotan youth who are transitioning out of foster care.

Professor Thomasine Heitkamp, the former chair of the Social Work Department, believes that expanding the number of American Indians who are social workers will improve access to needed resources. To that end, UND and Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates have partnered to establish an undergraduate social-work degree program. "We know there's a need for a better trained childcare workforce across the state. We're always interested in serving rural and reservation communities and allowing more opportunities for those who can't necessarily relocate to campus."

Information gathered from original article by Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald