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Child Welfare Stipend Program

What is the Child Welfare Stipend Program?

The Child Welfare Stipend Program (CWSP) is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services and four public state universities in Virginia. Our current university partners are:

This specialized training program, funded through title IV-E of the Social Security Act, prepares BSW seniors and MSW students for a career in public child welfare.

Students accepted into this program receive a $10,000 stipend per academic year. In exchange for the stipend and extensive child welfare training, the stipend recipient must commit to work at a Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) within the state of Virginia in foster care or adoption, repaying each academic year of funding with one calendar year of work. This employment obligation must begin within six (6) months of graduation.

Program Requirements

  • Eligible students must be enrolled in a full-time BSW (seniors only) or MSW program at one of the five participating universities.
  • Stipend Recipients must successfully complete two Child Welfare courses: a Child Welfare Policy elective and a Child Welfare Practice elective.
  • MSW Stipend Recipients must complete one field practicum in a child serving setting, and one field practicum at a LDSS (primarily in a foster care / foster care prevention / adoption / in-home services role).
  • BSW Stipend Recipients and MSW Advanced Standing Stipend Recipients must complete one field practicum at a Local Department of Social Services (primarily in a foster care / foster care prevention / adoption / in-home services role).
  • Stipend Recipients must complete additional CWSP seminars and training as indicated by their University Coordinator. This includes the VDSS Foster Care New Worker Policy Training, and other training topics such as trauma informed care, regional trends in substance abuse, interpersonal violence, etc.

A Child Welfare Stipend Student Will Learn:

  • How to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families;
  • To be an advocate for children and families;
  • How to utilize a trauma informed approach with family engagement and assessment;
  • Cultural and diversity competence;
  • Best practices in child welfare;
  • The importance of self-care, supervision and on-going professional development; and
  • How to promote the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families.

Application Process

Students must be accepted by a participating university to be eligible to apply for the IV-E stipend. Applications can be found on participating university websites. The application process includes a writing sample and an in-person interview. The number of stipends is limited and contingent upon Federal and State funding. Applicants must have a valid driver's license, be able to pass a pre-employment background check and be eligible to work in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Supplemental Information

For More Information, Please Contact:

Patrick Link
CWSP State Coordinator
Phone: 804.510.3816

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