Cynthia Franklin, Stiernberg/Spencer Family Professor in Mental Health and associate dean for doctoral education at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, is the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

a phot of Cynthia Franklin
Cynthia Franklin

This award recognizes the best social work values and accomplishments demonstrated throughout the social worker’s lifetime. Recipients of the award demonstrate repeated outstanding achievements, make contributions of lasting impact, exemplify outstanding creativity, and receive recognition beyond the social work profession.

Franklin began her social work career improving the lives of at-risk youth. Throughout her 25 years working in social work and education, she worked as a therapist, consultant, trainer, and researcher in both educational and mental health settings in the United States, Taiwan, and China. She is considered the chief architect and principal researcher of solution-focused brief therapy intervention for at-risk youth in schools.

Franklin’s contributions to social work practice and education are vast. Her groundbreaking work with Latina youth at Gonzalo Garza Independence High School in Austin, Texas, led to the intervention “Taking Charge,” which is widely used and internationally recognized. This intervention was added to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Crime Solutions Model programs guide in 2013, and has been recognized by the US Department of Education as a model dropout prevention program.

Franklin is a leader in research on the use of SFBT (solution-focused brief therapy) with children and adolescents. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, books, book chapters, and technical reports, and presented her work at dozens of national and international conferences. She also has over 20 years of teaching and mentoring social work students to take the state licensing exam.

Franklin has held several Fellow appointments in various organizations, including AAMFT (American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy), Special Education Department at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk,  American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, Humanities Institute at UT Austin. She is editor-in-chief the NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work, and has served as a board member for the Center for School Mental Health Assistance at the Baltimore School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, the NASW Texas School Social Work Committee, and the Regional Network for Children and Youth in Texas.