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Child Welfare Scholarship Program

Child Welfare Scholarship Program

The Child Welfare Scholarships are awarded to approximately ten incoming students who are interested in becoming child welfare specialists. The purpose of the program is to train committed specialists in child welfare. Some scholarships are targeted toward applicants who aged out of the foster care system and applicants wanting to work with urban and rural Native American children. Following graduation, child welfare specialists have worked as child welfare social workers, therapists working with maltreated children, program managers, community organizers, and policymakers.

Child Welfare Scholarship Program Funding

  • Nonresident Award: $10,000/semester ($40,000 total for four terms or $30,000 total for three terms)
  • Resident Award: $5,000/semester ($20,000 total for four terms or $15,000 total for three terms)

Specialized Child Welfare Plan

  • Practice Seminar in Child Maltreatment: Assessment and Treatment (fall and winter semesters)
  • Integrative Seminar: Child Maltreatment (fall semester only)
  • Interpersonal Practice with Children and Youth
  • Children and Youth Services and Social Policies
  • Adolescent Development and Behavior
  • Infant and Child Development and Behavior
  • Social Work Practice with Children and Youth
  • Mental Health and Mental Disorders of Children and Youth

Special Fieldwork Placements

Child Welfare Scholars will complete their field placements in agencies that offer opportunities for cutting edge practice in child welfare. Agencies include: American Indian Health and Family Services, Catholic Social Service, Oakland County, Department of Human Services-Central Administration, Guidance Center, UM Health System-Child Protection Team/Abuse Prevention Initiative, UM Law School-Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, UM Law School-Pediatric Advocacy Initiative, UM School of Social Work-Family Assessment Clinic, and UM School of Social Work-Juvenile and Adult Justice Project.


  • All potential MSW applicants who want to specialize in child welfare social work are invited to apply.
  • Child Welfare Scholars must be enrolled in the 16-month curriculum schedule, Advanced Standing, or the MicroMasters MSW, select the Children and Youth in Families and Society practice area, complete nine credits hours of special child welfare courses, and complete a field placement in child welfare. Applicants may select any practice method concentration: Community Organization, Interpersonal Practice, Management of Human Services, or Social Policy and Evaluation.
  • Recipient must be interested in child welfare and Indian child welfare policies and practices, including but not limited to child abuse, neglect, foster care and adoption, kinship care, and “cross-over” youth involved in juvenile justice and other youth-serving institutions.
  • Application deadlines: December 1, 2018 (early application), February 1, 2019 (priority), March 1, 2019. Selection of applicants will be made from all dates with priority given to those applicants that meet the December and February deadlines.
  • Deferred admits planning to enroll in fall 2019 must submit their special program application by November 2, 2018.
  • Financial need will be considered in the review of special program applications.
  • Your MSW application must be complete by the scholarship deadline.
  • If you would like to apply for Child Welfare Scholarship Program, then please answer "yes" to the question, "Do you plan to apply to an SSW Special Program?" found on the Financial Assistance page of the MSW online application and then select the Child Welfare Scholarship Program checkbox. The application pages will be added to the end of your online MSW application.
  • Be sure to include your name and "Child Welfare Scholars Statement" in the upper corner of your statement before you upload it to your online application.
  • Note that it will be more likely to be offered the Child Welfare Scholarship if you select the Children and Youth practice area on your MSW application.

For more information about the Child Welfare Scholarship Program, contact the Office of Student Services at 734-936-0961 or

Child Welfare Scholarship Program Requirements and Description

I. Practice Area

Students in this program complete a Practice Area in Children and Youth in Families and Society and may pursue any of the Practice Method concentrations: Interpersonal Practice, Community Organization, Management of Human Services, or Social Policy and Evaluation.

Children and Youth in Families and Society Practice Area course requirements for Child welfare Scholars are as follows:

  • Social Work with Children and Youth (SW 696) --3 credits
  • Children, Youth, and Family Policies (SW 633) --3 credits

Choice of 3 credits:

  • Infant & Child Development and Behavior (SW 605)
  • Adolescent Development and Behavior (SW 601)
  • Mental Health and Mental Disorders of Children and Youth (SW 612) (from mental health concentration)

II. Students are required to complete special courses in child welfare:

Practice Seminar in Child Maltreatment: Assessment and Treatment (SW 730)

3 Credits

1. Course Description:

This methods course is intended to develop practice skills in child welfare, with special attention to child maltreatment. This course will prepare students to practice in the child welfare field by teaching them about the various contexts in which child welfare practice takes place and the skills and modalities that are used with children, youth, and families who are the focus of child welfare intervention. Ethical issues for social workers, in particular, the sometimes conflicting needs of children and families and legal system impact on child welfare practice, will be addressed, as the various methods are taught. The first term will focus on assessment and the second on treatment.

2. Course Content:

This course will cover the following areas: 1) personal, professional, and societal responses to children at risk, 2) client issues and responses to child welfare intervention, 3) theories that explain child maltreatment, 4) assessment of children and adults with child welfare issues, 5) interventions employed in the child welfare system, and 6) treatment strategies used with traumatized children. This course will draw upon practice in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe.

In the realm of personal, professional, and societal responses, students will be sensitized to their personal reaction to child maltreatment. They will be apprised of professional expectations, such as mandatory reporting of child maltreatment, and students will be taught about the general structure of service delivery to child welfare clients, which constitutes the context within which they will provide services to clients.

Client issues will include several concerns. First, students will become cognizant of different impacts and implications, depending upon who is defined as the client (e.g., the child, the parent(s), the family, or the child protection system). Second, students will learn to appreciate the impact of the involuntary nature of many social worker-client relationships in the child welfare system. How services are perceived by clients and how involuntariness affects choices in interventions will be examined. Third, students will be made aware of how differences between themselves and clients of child welfare services affect service delivery. These differences will include race, developmental status, economic status, education, gender, and physical well-being.

The knowledge students will acquire about assessment will include evaluating children, adults, and families who are involved in the child welfare system. Students will learn how to evaluate overall functioning, conduct developmental assessments, and make a determination about the likelihood of child maltreatment and other endangering behaviors. They will learn different models of assessment and the role of medical examinations and psychological testing in the evaluation process. They will also become acquainted with widely used assessment practices in child welfare, such as screening, risk assessment, and structured decision making.

Students will learn about different approaches, such as ego psychological, cognitive behavioral, trauma focused, and family systems theoretical frameworks and interventions. They will also learn about interventions, such as parenting instruction, parent aids, solution-focused therapy, intensive family preservation services, and wrap-around services as programmatic approaches with child welfare clients.

Students will learn how to evaluate direct practice, for example, by using single subject design and standardized measures, such as the Child Behavior Checklist, the Child Sexual Behavior Inventory, the Trauma Symptom Checklist, and the Child Dissociation Scale. They will also become acquainted with outcome criteria employed in the child welfare system, for example, re-abuse of a child, re-referral to child protective services, and permanency. Finally, they will be given tools to critically evaluate programs, such as wrap-around services and parenting instruction.

This course is taken first and second term in the MSW program.

Integrative Seminar: Child Welfare Maltreatment (SW 739)

3 Credits, Prerequisites: Children & Youth Concentration or instructor's permission

1. Course Description:

This integrative seminar will integrate micro and macro levels of practice; research in child welfare, as it relates to all levels of practice; the relationship of child maltreatment and other social problems; and perspectives from several disciplines, specifically social work, other mental health professions, law, and medicine, as these disciplines address problems of child maltreatment and child welfare. The substance of this seminar will highlight the impact of minority status and poverty on child welfare issues. The primary focus will be on child welfare issues in the United States, Canada, and Western European countries.

2. Course Content:

This advanced level, integrative seminar is intended to be taken by students in their third or final term of masters level study. The purpose of this course is to integrate content related to child maltreatment and child welfare along several dimensions. First, a range of issues in child welfare from direct practice, community, agency, and policy perspectives will be examined. For example, 1) memory and trauma, 2) abuse allegations, divorce, and child custody, and 3) abuse of children in substitute care will be reviewed. Second, the course will explore and integrate research findings related to child welfare issues, services, and practice. Third, the relationship of child welfare and child maltreatment to other social problems, such as poverty, domestic abuse, child health, and parental substance abuse will be covered. Finally, students will be given an opportunity to explore issues in child welfare drawing upon substantive material from different disciplines. For example, this course will integrate certain medical diagnoses, such as Battered Child Syndrome, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and Non-organic Failure to Thrive with related psychosocial assessments of and intervention with children and parents when these conditions are present. Likewise, legal issues will be addressed, such as legal liability, the use of the courts to effect safety for the child, termination of parental rights, testifying in court, and the option to criminally prosecute some types of maltreatment.

This course is taken during the student's fourth term.

III. Field Placements

Scholars complete their internships in field placements that provide a significant focus on child welfare and offer opportunities for cutting edge practice in child welfare. The client system includes children and families involved in child welfare system broadly defined to include areas of social, economic and environmental justice that transcend the traditional boundaries established by existing federal and state programs and which affect the well-being of children, youth and their families. These field placements are recommended and listed in the Child Welfare Scholarship and Certificate Program Handbook.

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