LOGAN – Debt claims account for as much as 85 percent of general civil legal claims in Utah District Courts, according to a 2022 Utah Bar Foundation report.

If it is approved by the Utah Supreme Court, a training program from Utah State University will help social workers learn to provide some legal services to those dealing with debt issues.

In collaboration with the Department of Social Work, USU’s Transforming Communities Institute (TCI) is in the process of launching such a training program.

Jaxon Didericksen, Access to Justice Program Coordinator, said only a small percentage of people have a chance to work with a lawyer during debt collection litigation. These are usually issues that develop from the challenge of affording housing, healthcare and education.

Jayme Walters, the TCI Director and a professor in USU’s Department of Social Work, said one goal would be to produce trained social workers to help clients prepare for court.

TCI, which is housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was established by USU’s Department of Social Work in 2021.

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