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Child Welfare Stipend Program

Preparing social work practitioners to engage families, support children and foster connections

Are you interested in child welfare, and working with children and families? If so, check out this important program that will prepare you for a meaningful career in child welfare while offering some incredible benefits.

Next application deadline: March 2, 2022

Prospective incoming M.S.W. on-campus and online students (regular and advanced standing) and B.S.W. students entering their senior year in Fall 2022 should apply for the CWSP by the date listed. See more application deadlines.

About the program

The Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services and four state universities within Virginia, including Virginia Commonwealth University. This specialized training program, funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, prepares social work students for a career in public child welfare. The goal of the CWSP at VCU is to recruit and prepare a caring, competent and innovative child welfare workforce in Virginia.

Program benefits

The CWSP at VCU provides students with the following training and support:

Our community partners also benefit from the CWSP at VCU by having the opportunity to: 

Stipend amount awarded

B.S.W. and M.S.W. students accepted into this program receive a $10,000 stipend per academic year.


In exchange for the stipend and child welfare training, the stipend recipient has a work payback requirement to work at a local department of social services within the Commonwealth of Virginia, in foster care, adoption and/or in-home (prevention) services, for one calendar year for each academic year the stipend was received.

Why child welfare?

It is a crucial time for social workers to specialize in child welfare practice as practitioners and researchers grapple with the history of child welfare and current implications for this area of practice. The existing child welfare workforce needs new colleagues to join them in the field who are critical thinkers, diligent workers, full of compassion and agents of change. Child welfare practitioners have been working with policymakers to shift the child welfare system toward prevention and to work toward better outcomes for youth currently in foster care; there is so much important work to do.

How to apply

VCU B.S.W. and M.S.W. students can apply for the stipend. Review the next sections to learn about the application process.

Preparing your application packet

The following steps must be completed and your documents submitted by the application deadline to be considered. Your emailed submission of required documents will be acknowledged within five business days of submission.

Application deadlines

The CWSP at VCU solicits applications for full-time current and prospective students each year to apply to join the program as a part of a cohort that begins in the fall semester. Applications for each cohort open in October for the following academic year cohort.

Complete application packets are due according to the following deadlines (exact dates subject to change each year):

*Prospective students: You may not yet have your M.S.W. admission decision prior to the CWSP application date; however, you still must apply to be considered, as application packets received after the CWSP March 2 application deadline will not be considered.

Resources for child welfare practice and research

If you're interested in additional resources, please review:

Contact us

For questions about the program, contact Naomi Reddish, Child Welfare Stipend Program coordinator, at

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