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Falcon Links receives $70,000 grant

September 23, 2022

Falcon Links receives a $70,000 grant to help students who do not have family support connect to UWRF resources.

Based off of the UW Stout Fostering Success program, UWRF has developed a program called Falcon Links that not only helps students who were previously a part of the foster care system but any students who do not have a family support system.

“We intentionally didn’t call it Fostering Success and part because it’s not just for students who aged out of foster care but also really for any students who were system involved," said Tammy Kincaid the social work associate professor in charge of the program.

The Falcon Links program does provide social services they are not any student’s social worker.

Many of the resources Falcon Links connects students to are things like Ability Services, Health and Counseling Services, on campus living, on campus jobs, River Falls community food pantry, transportation, community closet, and off campus jobs if needed.

Falcon Links is also hoping to add case management services, an emergency financial support fund, and to pay for students to stay in the dorms over break if they don’t have a family to return to.

Although Falcon Links is newer to UWRF, Kincaid has informally been providing services to a small group of students for years. Her background in child welfare and her experience of ageing out of foster care and going to college has helped to shape Falcon Links to what it is today.

Staff are currently seeking out and searching for students who would benefit from this connection and are hoping that students will hear about Falcon Links and recommend others to reach out. 

“The goal is to have about 25 students in the program and help whoever needs help,” said Kincaid.

Kincaid is not the only one running the program. The UWRF social work department was able to get a Masters of Social Work Intern from the University of Minnesota and has connections with Residence Life, Financial Aid, and Student Success.

Social work students are not directly involved with providing support for students a part of Falcon Links in order to prevent dual relationships. Dual relationships refers to multiple roles that exist between a social worker and a client. Students can help out with broader things like fundraising and spreading information about what Falcon Links does.  

Falcon Links not only will help college students without a family support system but also highschool students. The program will help students with questions about scholarships and grants, the admission process, support them in FASFA navigation, plans for college, and UW-River Falls visit opportunities.

Kincaid said, “it’s an add-on to what is already being provided on campus, not a replacement.”

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