Virginia Tannar Sandifer, 97, a retired staff member of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare who directed and taught training workshops for family and child welfare officers, died Dec. 14 at Washington Home Hospice. She had suffered a stroke this month.

Mrs. Sandifer moved to Washington in 1961 as part of a special project to plan and conduct a program of training for public welfare workers, which she then published in a book, "Case Work Concepts for Public Welfare Workers." This led to a permanent position at HEW in which she led workshops for state welfare staff development personnel.

She also participated in United Nations workshops in Hong Kong, Bankok and Manila. She retired in 1973.

She was born in Akron, Ohio, graduated from Eureka College in Illinois, taught school and then worked as a social worker in New York. She received a master's degree in social work from what now is Columbia University.

In 1943, she became a professor of social work at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where her work included curriculum development and the master's and doctoral programs. She also presented short courses and seminars at various organizations across the United States.

On retiring from HEW, Mrs. Sandifer pursued a longtime interest in art and enrolled at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington. Her work has been exhibited at the Corcoran and the Junior League of Washington.

She married a longtime friend and former Eureka College professor, Durward Sandifer, in 1978. He died in 1981.

Survivors include a stepdaughter, Muriel Hermes of Anchorage, Alaska.