Supporting Social Work Students for Child Welfare Practice
If you are a CPS Employee, visit our For CPS Employees page for information on financial support and other benefits.
Have you considered a career helping the most vulnerable of society’s children and families? Would you enjoy working in a complex environment with daily opportunities to improve the lives of children on your caseload? Is meaningful and vital work on behalf of families one of the factors that drew you to social work?
If so, the Child Welfare Education Collaboration (CWEC) invites you to consider becoming a Child Welfare Scholar. CWEC is a partnership between the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Child Protective Services (CPS). CWEC selects students enrolled in the BSW and MSSW programs at the School of Social Work, prepares them for child welfare practice, provides financial support for their education, and arranges for anticipated paid employment in CPS once the student finishes the degree.
Benefits and responsibilities of being a Child Welfare Scholar include generous tuition assistance, priority in assignment to a child welfare related agency for first field experience for MSSW students, and employment within Region 7 (or out of region if there are no vacancies).
- Fall semester: May 1
- Spring semester: September 31
What students say about being a Child Welfare Scholar
Working with CPS is like boot camp for social workers because of the endurance necessary to do the job, the many hats that you wear, and the fact that if you can do this job you can do anything. Working in child welfare is exhausting, challenging, and overwhelming at times. However, nothing can compare to the amazing feeling that you get when a child is reunited with family or adopted, when you drop off Christmas presents, or just get an unexpected hug and thank you from a child, parent, or foster family. In my current position, I complete highly specialized placement coordination for children who are in the custody of the state of Texas. When I started my internship I had no idea that my tenure with the state would last for so long and that it would be such a paradigm shifting experience for me. It is priceless to go to a job every day where I know that I am making a tangible difference in people’s lives during their darkest days. Elizabeth Byrd, MSSW 2009
CWEC has helped me reach many of my goals and make strong professional relationships with other Child Welfare Scholars and graduates. For my internship, I was a conservatorship caseworker, helping families work through their service plans and reunify with their children. After graduation I was placed in an adoption preparation unit. I helped find permanent adoptive homes for children, and also prepared them for adoption by helping them process their experiences and by answering their questions. Later I was transferred to the foster/adopt development program, where I had the opportunity to teach foster parent and adoption trainings, as well as license foster and adoptive parents. I have recently became an adoption preparation supervisor, and I am really looking forward for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Kendall Clark, MSSW 2008
Through the CWEC program I was an intern at CPS and was able to work cases with a tenured social worker. I participated in weekly supervisions, which provided stable support for a challenging job. One of the most helpful pieces of advice from my CWEC supervisor was to have realistic expectations about the job. I feel that thanks to this guidance I was able to have a much more enjoyable experience as an intern. I am currently employed by CPS as a conservatorship caseworker. I work with children under the temporary custody of the state, I either reunite them with their parents or find other permanent placement for them. My daily tasks include supervising parent/child visits, attending court hearings, preparing court reports, and creating plans of service. CPS demands much time and energy, but it is an irreplaceable job experience. It has strengthened my skills related to tolerance, communication, and collaboration. Allison McGill, BSW 2012
About CWEC: CWEC is a partnership between the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Child Protective Services (CPS) that links social work education and public child welfare. CWEC is funded by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, federal title IV-E, and cost sharing by The University of Texas at Austin.