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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 state universities within Virginia (Radford University, Norfolk State University, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University). This specialized training program, funded through title IV-E of the Social Security Act, prepares BSW and MSW students for a career in 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 within the state of Virginia (one calendar year for each academic year that the stipend was received). This employment obligation must begin within three (3) months of graduation.

Program Requirements

  • Eligible students must be enrolled in a full-time BSW or MSW program at one of the four participating universities.
  • Stipend Recipients must successfully complete two Child Welfare courses (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 Local Department of Social Services (primarily in a foster care/ foster care prevention / adoption 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 role).
  • Stipend Recipients must complete additional CWSP seminars/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;
  • 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:

Bethany Robinson
CWSP State Coordinator
Email: childwelfarestipend@dss.virginia.gov
Phone: (804) 726-7423

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