Jim Schwab, Ph.D.
Jane Kretzschmar, LMSW-ACP
Rowena Fong, Ph.D
The School of Social Work’s Title IV-E Child Welfare Education Collaboration (CWEC) training project began in September 1999, with federal funds administered by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The goal of this program is to provide a needed pool of trained social workers for work in Child Protective Services (CPS), and to assist students interested in careers in child welfare with financial support to cover educational expenses.
The payment of a stipend to students covers in-state tuition, fees, and a book allowance. This stipend is available to current CPS employees in IV-E eligible positions and to students who meet screening guidelines for employment at CPS after graduation. Students who are current CPS employees receive a stipend each semester they are registered for classes. Students not currently employed by CPS receive the stipend for semesters when they are in field placements attached to the CWEC program. Students who accept a Title IV-E stipend are expected to sign an agreement stating that they will be willing to work in the Child Protective Services (CPS) program of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services after graduation. The student must be willing to repay the stipend through full-time professional employment with CPS, or an alternative acceptable to DFPS. If the student does not complete the social work program, decides not to accept employment at CPS, or chooses to leave employment early, he/she will be required to repay the stipend dollar for dollar, plus accrued interest. Non-employee students who accept a CWEC stipend will complete their final internship at Travis County Child Protective Services in the Basic Skills Development (BSD) program. In addition, they may do an internship at the Travis County Juvenile Probation Unit if they are required to have two field experiences while in the social work program.
Both BSW and MSSW students who are not current CPS employees are placed at the Travis County CPS in BSD for their final field experience. These educational internships help students become employment-ready by gaining the knowledge needed to being their careers in Child Protective Services. Interns at CPS have opportunities to interact with new and tenured employees; work with a field coordinator specifically assigned to CPS; learn state-of-the-art information about CPS practice; team with CPS workers to better understand the different stages of service in CPS work; and receive specialized training related to units to which they are assigned, including Family-Based Safety Services, Adoptions Preparation, and Conservatorship Units.
Non-employee students who complete two placements do their first placement at the Travis County Juvenile Probation Deferred Prosecution Unit-Social Workers in Family Service (DPU). Students provide social work services to youth and their families who are referred to the Deferred Prosecution Unit. Social Work interns receiving the stipend in their first year placements provide supportive guidance, case management, referral, advocacy, and educational/supportive group services.
CPS employees who are students complete field placements different from their current CPS employment, either at other social service settings or in DFPS.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Keywords: child welfare, families, children, youth