The Maxine and Milt Klein Idaho Society for Clinical Social Work Scholarship supports scholarships for Social Work students from Idaho.
The Milt and Maxine Klein Idaho Society for Clinical Social Work Endowed Scholarship was established in 2004. Milt Klein LCSW was the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in the ‘70s and founding president of the Idaho Society for Clinical Social Work. He and his wife were partners in private practice for many years. This endowed scholarship was established to honor and extend the impact of the Klein’s for perpetuity.
The cost of higher education often presents a burden and challenge to many aspiring Social Workers, and costs only continue to rise. This scholarship plays a crucial role in supporting Boise State Social Work students who aspire to promote excellence in their clinical work and enhance the emotional health and well-being of vulnerable populations. A recent student recipient emphasizes this impact, saying that ‘paying for school has been a struggle. This scholarship will give me more energy to focus on learning…it means I will not have to sacrifice what I need to complete my schooling’.
Milt was born in 1939 in Kansas City, Missouri and moved to Aurora, Missouri when he was ten where his father was a local pastor; Maxine lived on a farm; seven miles away. They met later, in high school. Milt fondly remembers that his father had every August off and, leaving on the first and returning on the 31st, they traveled all over the U.S. noting that by the time he graduated high school, he had been to all but a handful of the states. He still remembers his father’s core piece of advice, “Your word is all you got; you got nuthin’ else!”
Milt worked at a local juvenile correction center and after graduating Missouri State in 1961 with a degree in sociology and a minor in German (“I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life”) he attended Washington University in St Louis studying casework where he had a scholarship from the Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR). While he was at Washington University working on his MSW, Maxine had completed her RN in Springfield and worked as a nurse in St Louis. He then went to work for them in Peoria, Illinois where he worked for the next seven years, 4 years for the IJR, then in a community mental health center another 3 years.
In 1970, they moved to Pocatello where he worked in community mental health at the time when the State was working to develop a comprehensive statewide community mental health system, being only the second state in the U.S. to do so! In 1973, they moved toTwin Falls where he was doing full time administrative work as Regional Director with H&W (ID H&W had just moved to a regional administrative system).
In 1976, he was appointed the Director of the Department of Health and Welfare and moved to Star where he and Maxine and their two daughters, Jennifer and Julie, enjoyed the rural lifestyle with which they had grown up, having horses and being able to walk out his back door to go hunting and fishing.
He notes two major challenges that quickly confronted him: the flood in Eastern Idaho when the Teton dam burst and then when Mt. St. Helens erupted causing ash fallout over Northern Idaho. He notes how hard the state employees worked to mitigate the effects of these two disasters. His other major job was “keeping the legislature funding things” that were important in taking care of the residents of Idaho.
In the late 70s the movement toward licensure for social workers was becoming a national trend and he was approached by the Clinical Social Work Federation (now Association) attending one of their conferences and later becoming their treasurer. They helped him line up the legislation for social work licensing. He helped attain social work licensure, an effort by many folks of which he was proud of his part, which included some key contacts in the legislature and other mental health groups. NASW did tons of work and put in a lot of hours along with other social workers as they all pressed hard for the clinical standards to be included in the legislation. Milt remains LCSW #1.
In 1981, Milt noted that he was losing his sense of humor working for the State in a high-level office. When a legislator had attached a bill to support the work of his department and later told him it was nothing “personal” noting that parts of the bill “just made me mad”, Milt’s pithy reply was “you just wanted to be mad!” He knew it was time to move on. “The day I walked out of the Statehouse for the last time, it felt like someone had lifted 1000 lbs off my shoulders.” This was 1981. He decided to open a branch of the Interfaith Family Counseling Center where he remained in practice until retirement in 2004.
As he started this practice and remained active in the then Clinical Social Work Federation, he was encouraged to start a local society for clinical social workers and in 1993, began searching for like minded souls. They formally had the first meeting in 1994 and Milt served as the President from 1994 to 1998, remaining active until his retirement.. He notes with pride that this and obtaining licensure for social work in the state were two of the most notable achievements in his social work career. He enjoyed the meetings, noting that when he was with the society members, “I felt like the Society was just like getting home.” He parts with the wish that clinical social workers in Idaho will come to feel the same way.
Former ISCSW Scholarship recipients include Tara Erickson, Sasha Wilkins and Melissa McTaggert
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