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Social work professor receives Liberty Bell Award

Cassidy Baker, professor of social work and Title IV-E Child Welfare Program coordinator, is the 2016 recipient of the Liberty Bell Award from the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers.

Baker was presented the award April 29 during a luncheon at the Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas.

“I’m really excited about this honor,” Baker said. “To be recognized as a social worker by a different group of professionals and the fact that they see that advocacy improves our system of justice is really just a great compliment.”

The Liberty Bell Award is presented to a non-lawyer of any age who has given selflessly to the community and strives to improve the public’s understanding and appreciation of the U.S. legal justice system.

“In working with the legal system, we have to learn how to speak that institution’s language,” Baker said. “We have to communicate with attorneys in such a way that families and individuals can get the best services possible, then we have to be able to translate the legal information back to the families and individuals we are working with.”

Five colleagues, whom Baker has worked with throughout various stages in her career, nominated her for the prestigious award.

Colleague Michael Graves, who oversees the Family Violence Division as Denton County Assistant District Attorney, noted in his nomination letter that Baker is compassionate, inspiring and has a talent to renew hope for families. He added that Baker assists in training police officers on how to handle and interact with people impacted by family violence.

Baker, a licensed clinical social worker, oversees UNT’s Title IV-E Child Welfare Program, which is designed to recruit social work majors seeking to pursue careers with the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Baker noted her desire to strengthen families as the basis for choosing a career in social work.

“We are advocates for families,” Baker said. “We get to be their guide and partner when they are facing some of the most trying times in their lives.” 

Baker worked as a CPS caseworker for nearly a decade before transitioning to a career in social work with the Denton County District Attorney’s office and now a professor and program coordinator for the University of North Texas. She has also been a member of the UNT Committee on the Education and Prevention of Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence since it was started and serves as the co-chair for the Advocacy Subcommittee.

-- Sherry Long, News Promotions

Posted on: Thu 26 May 2016

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