What is the Child Welfare Stipend Program?
The Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program (CWSP) is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and four universities within Virginia. This specialized training program, funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, aims to prepare social work students for a career in public child welfare. Each CWSP recipient will receive a $10,000 stipend per academic year, with a work payback requirement.
Program expectations at GMU
- Eligible students must be enrolled in a full-time BSW or MSW program.
- Stipend students must successfully complete two Child Welfare courses (Child Welfare Policy and Child Welfare Practice electives).
- MSW Stipend Recipients must complete one field practicum in a child serving setting, and one field practicum at a local Department of Social Services (primarily in a foster care/adoption, & in-home services).
- 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/adoption, & in-home services).
- CWSP recipients are required to complete the VDSS new worker state trainings.*
- Accepted students must enroll and attend the weekly Field Practicum & Seminar class for CWSP students.
*Mandatory VDSS state trainings vary each academic year. Students will be provided detailed training information after they have been accepted into the program.
Child Welfare Stipend and Program Benefits
In exchange for the $10,000 stipend and extensive child welfare training, accepted students must commit to work at a local Department of Social Service agency within the state of Virginia one (1) calendar year for each academic year the stipend was received. This employment obligation begins six (6) months after graduation.
Program benefits and support at GMU include:
- Workshops relevant to child welfare practice.
- Support with the employment search process.
- Required training through the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center.
- Field internship with a local Department of Social Services agency.
- Opportunities to connect with CWSP alumni working in northern Virginia.
Approved Electives for the 2021-2022 CWSP Cohort
Practice: SOCW 483 - Select Topics: Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice - offered Fall 2021
Policy: SOCW 415 - Child and Family Welfare - offered Spring 2022 as a distance education section
Practice: SOCW 677 - Family Therapy - offered Fall 2021 & Spring 2022
Policy: SOCW 654 - Social Policy: Children/Youth - offered Fall 2021
To apply, complete the electronic application and submit all supporting documentation by the date indicated on the application. The application packet consists of 4 components.
- Personal statement. Upload on the electronic application form.
- Current resume. Upload on the electronic application form.
- Two (2) professional references. Each student must have two references submitted in support of their application. References must be from professionals who have worked with the applicant or a current/former professor. Students should provide their references with the following electronic form: https://forms.office.com/r/XcGv25k3vn
- Application form. Link to the application: https://is.gd/CwspApplication
Personal Statement information
Before writing your personal statement, please review the following materials:
- Listen to the podcast, Casework: What it Really Takes, by the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Link: https://soundcloud.com/childwelfare/casework-what-it-really-takes
- Read the factsheet, How the Child Welfare System Works, by the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Link: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/cpswork/
Your statement should answer the following questions:
- Why do you want to work with children and their families?
- If applicable, please describe your experience in child welfare. You may discuss current or past experiences as a volunteer, student, employee, client, etc.
- What are your personal strengths and areas where growth is needed?
- How do you manage competing priorities? Provide examples.
- What are your career goals upon completing a BSW or MSW degree? How will the Child Welfare Stipend Program help you attain your goals?
- Why should Virginia's Department of Social Services invest in your education?
Application deadlines vary by academic level. Please follow the deadline schedule below.
Deadline #1: January 28, 2022
This deadline is for the following students:
- Current BSW students going into their senior year Fall 2022
- Current MSW on-ground students beginning their 2nd year Fall 2022
- Current Dual Degree MSW students beginning their 3rd year Fall 2022
Deadline #2: March 1, 2022
- Prospective incoming students for the MSW Advanced Standing program*
- Prospective incoming students for the MSW program*
- Prospective incoming students for the Dual Degree MSW program*
*Prospective students: You may not yet have your MSW admission decision prior to the CWSP application date; however, you still must apply to be considered, as application packets received after the CWSP March 1st application deadline will not be considered.
Application to CWSP and Acceptance into the MSW Program
Applicants should not wait until they receive a decision letter from the MSW program before applying to the Child Welfare Stipend Program. Applicants interested in the MSW Program and Child Welfare Stipend are encouraged to apply to both programs separately within the same time frame. The MSW and CWSP are different programs, however, the application timelines are similar.
Katherine Cornejo, LICSW
Virginia Department of Social Services
The Virginia Department of Social Services is one of the largest Commonwealth agencies, partnering with 120 local departments of social services to promote the well-being of children and families statewide.