College of Social Work Inducts Three New Members Into Hall of Fame

News - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 11:04am

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Social Work inducted three new members into their Hall of Fame Wednesday, May 7, at the Hillary J. Boone Center.       


In 1999, the College of Social Work inducted its first members into the Hall of Fame. Since then, each year the college recognizes the distinguished accomplishments of College of Social Work alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the field of social work. These individuals are deemed outstanding in their profession by their colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of their peers.


This year's inductees are: Elizabeth Croney, Teresa James, and Carl Smith.


Elizabeth Croney is the president of KVC Behavioral Health Services Kentucky. She began her career developing extensive experience working with alcohol abuse and mental health programs, and in 1989, she was appointed as the first director of Stoner Creek Centre, an inpatient psychiatric unit for children and adults. Croney established a private practice in Bourbon County in 1990, where she worked extensively with children and families.


In 1999, she formed Croney & Clark, Inc., a private, for-profit corporation serving three rural counties, and over a 10-year period, she developed it into an agency providing services in metropolitan Fayette County and 16 surrounding counties. Croney & Clark delivered wrap-around behavioral health and community-based services to children and families identified by the Kentucky Department of Mental Health as needing intensive services. KVC acquired Croney & Clark in 2009 and appointed Croney president of Kentucky operations. In December 2010, she became president of the KVC West Virginia subsidiary, which she left in 2012 when Kentucky was awarded eight Intensive In-Home and Family Preservation contracts. This meant more than doubling the size of the Kentucky operation to 235 employees. In 2009, Croney was awarded Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky’s “Champion for Children” Award.


Croney holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice from the University of South Florida and a master’s in social work from UK. She has published in the area of ethics and supervision and is a sought-after workshop leader, trainer, and speaker in the U.S. and Canada.


Teresa James was appointed commissioner of Kentucky's Department for Community Based Services in September by Gov. Steven Beshear. Prior to accepting the role as commissioner, she had been the acting commissioner since December 2011 and the deputy commissioner since 2008. A native of Midway, Ky., James received a bachelor’s of social work from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s degree in social work from UK. She has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1993.


She has over 25 years of clinical social work experience, including more than 22 years working with severely abused and neglected children, their families and vulnerable adults. She began her career as a front line child protective service worker with the Kentucky Cabinet for Human Resources in 1986 in Danville, Ky.


Commissioner James is a proud and passionate social worker who has a wide range of experiences in the field of social work and child welfare. She is committed to the cabinet’s mission of protecting our most vulnerable children and adults as well as insuring that every child has an opportunity for permanency and a forever family. She is a collaborator who is committed to working with community partners to promote safety, stability, and well-being for the citizens of the Commonwealth.


Carl Smith attended the UK Ashland Extension (later named Ashland Community College) and moved to the main campus in Lexington in 1966 where he worked at the University Medical Center as a chemical surgical technician in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics as he continued his undergraduate studies.


He was drafted and inducted into the U..S. Army in April 1969. Upon completion of basic and advanced training, Smith was selected for Officer Candidate School, and became an infantry officer. He served in the military for the next 30 years with nine of those (1972-1981) in the active Reserve and National Guard. It was during those nine years that Smith became involved in social work. He received his master’s in social work while working for the Bureau of Social Services in Kentucky. In 1981, he returned to the active Army as a social work officer where he served in various jobs for the next 18 years.


Smith retired from the Army in 1999 at the rank of lieutenant colonel and began working for the Air Force in the Family Advocacy Program in San Antonio, Texas. He became the coordinator/director of juvenile treatment programs for The Brown Schools (in Texas) and Cornell Companies where he worked for the next five years. In 2008, he returned to federal service as a clinical social worker at the Warrior Transition Battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center working with wounded warriors.  From there, he moved in 2009, to the Army Medical Department Center and School as branch chief of the Combat and Operational Stress Control Training Branch where he continues to serve.


MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or


Social Work Student's Work with Violence Prevention Leads Her to Washington, D.C.

News - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 3:24pm

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2014) — CARE International, a humanitarian organization designed to fight global poverty, invited college students from across the nation to their annual conference in Washington, D.C. this past March, including University of Kentucky College of Social Work student, Santana Berry, one of two citizens who represented the state of Kentucky.


The purpose of the annual conference was to brief the various state representatives on issues CARE focuses on and to meet with congressional representatives about global issues such as, gender based violence, food aid reform, and the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Berry was recommended to CARE by her mentor LeTonia Jones, adjunct faculty member in the College of Social Work, and Berry wrote about her experience as part of her Community and Social Development Practicum.


“I was very pleased that Santana was able to represent Kentucky at the CARE conference," Jones said. "I recommended her because I have witnessed Santana grow tremendously over the years, both as a person and in her advocacy. In developing her own voice I felt like she was in the perfect place in her education and in her life to advocate on international women’s issues related to poverty. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”


Berry attended three days of workshops to help prepare her and other conference attendees about CARE's issues and how to best talk about these issues with politicians the next day on Capitol Hill. 


Berry, a native of Louisville, and a first generation college graduate, earned a bachelor's degree in social work from UK in 2011. She will graduate in May with a Master of Social Work (MSW) concentration in community and social development.


Berry's interest in poverty and violence stems from personal experience.


 "I myself am a survivor of violence," Berry said. "However this issue is of great interest to me also because of its global impact. The perpetration of intimate partner violence is essentially the same around the world. It is interesting to me that a small percentage of violent individuals can cause such traumatic impacts around the world. Also when someone is impacted by violence they are not only impacted in that moment but for the rest of their lives."


Berry gained experience while she was a student volunteer at the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center at UK working with incarcerated battered women at the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association and GreenHouse 17, formerly known as the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, a local domestic violence shelter. However, it is because of Berry's personal experience growing up in poverty and experiencing intimate partner violence, that CARE considers her to be an expert.


Berry was interviewed several years ago for a promotional video for the VIP Center's "In Love's Service" play. She says this is where her passion for violence prevention began.


"Telling my own story allowed space within me to focus on preventing this violence from occurring for others."


Berry said that she's not sure what's next for her after graduation, but she could easily see herself engaging in policy analysis and advocacy.


"This experience will be very helpful for me in the future as a social worker. Regardless of what population I work with in the future, I will need to be able to advocate for my clients."




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or