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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
VCU B.S.W. and M.S.W. students can apply for the stipend. Review the next sections to learn about the application process.
Applicants must complete the CWSP online application form and submit all required documents by the application deadline. Learn more about how to prepare the required documents to apply.
Required documents include:
Application packets for the CWSP at VCU must be submitted by the appropriate deadline in order to be considered.
The CWSP coordinator at VCU and/or Advisory Committee members review and screen application packets. Once admission to the M.S.W. Program is confirmed or B.S.W. status is confirmed, applicants selected for the next stage of the process are scheduled for a required face-to-face interview in person or virtually. During the interview, applicants are asked a series of questions and are informed in more detail of the postgraduation commitment. Applicants are selected for the program based on a thorough review of application materials and the face-to-face interview.
Applicants will be notified in writing via email about the award decision in a timely manner after interviews are completed for each group of applicants. Applicants who are offered a spot in the CWSP and choose to accept the financial award will be required to sign a legally binding contractual agreement obligating them to seek and obtain employment in a local department of social services in Virginia postgraduation in prevention, foster care and/or adoption services. This contractual agreement will be sent to applicants upon award notification. Applicants who choose to accept the stipend must submit a signed copy of the Child Welfare Stipend Program Student Agreement to the coordinator at VCU along with a copy of their M.S.W. Program acceptance letter.
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.
After you have reflected on the material above, please submit your responses to the following questions. Responses should be a maximum length of two pages in total. Responses will be evaluated on quality of substance and writing skills; be thorough, yet concise.
Please submit your professional reflection and current resume to email@example.com. Your current resume should include education, employment, volunteer and field/internship experience.
Each applicant must have at least two professional references who complete and submit the CWSP reference form.
Both references must be from professionals who have worked with you; preferably one from someone who has supervised you in some capacity.
To complete your application, fill out and submit the CWSP application form. All application materials must be submitted by the application deadline in order for your application packet to be reviewed and considered.
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.
If you're interested in additional resources, please review:
For questions about the program, contact Naomi Reddish, Child Welfare Stipend Program coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not only has participating in the Child Welfare Stipend Program given me extensive training and knowledge of the child welfare system, the financial aspect of the program allowed me to focus on my studies without the stress of taking on extra loans to pay for graduate school.”
Hannah Truex (she/her), M.S.W. graduate
CWSP has empowered me to be a leader by providing me opportunities to facilitate tough yet ever-important discussions, such as having the privilege to co-moderate a discussion panel regarding the identification and dismantling of structural racism in the child welfare system.”
John Ruane (he/him), M.S.W. graduate