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Certificate in Child Welfare

A Certificate in Child Welfare will reflect the state-of-the art knowledge and skills essential for practice in child welfare and will provide knowledge, skills and professional expertise that are easily transferrable to other fields of practice today. It will reflect instruction from expert faculty and a focused curriculum on social work practice in child welfare. Having a credential such as Certificate in Child Welfare from the University of Michigan's School of Social Work will greatly enhance a student's employability in their chosen field upon graduation.


  1. Certificate students may be 16 month, 20 month, advanced standing, or extended degree students.

  2. Certificate students may choose any of the methods concentrations: Interpersonal practice, Management of human services, Community organization, or Social policy and evaluation.

  3. Certificate students choose a practice area concentration in Children and Youth in Families and Society, but with their advisor's permission, may substitute SW 612 for SW601 or 605.

  4. Certificate students must take the specially developed seminars that focus on child welfare assessment and treatment as well as an integrative capstone course linking macro to micro social work practice in child welfare. These seminars are described as follows:

    SW730: Social Work Practice in child welfare and child maltreatment (6 hours; two terms)

    This is a methods course intended to develop skills for child welfare practice, with special attention to child maltreatment. Students learn 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. This course will prepare students to work with diverse client populations and will help them appreciate the imbalance of power between client and professional. Understanding the needs and responses of involuntary clients is an integral part of the course. Relevant evidence-based practices are taught and child welfare policies and practices are subjected to critical review. The first term will focus on assessment and the second on treatment.

    SW739: Integrative seminar in child welfare (3 hours)

    This capstone course and will integrate micro and macro levels of practice; research in child welfare and related fields, as the research 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 seminar will highlight issues of social justice, disproportionality - particularly the over-representation of children and families of color in the child welfare system, and disadvantaged populations, including children in general and poor children in particular.

  5. Certificate students will do their internships in field placements that offer opportunities for cutting edge practice in child welfare. Agencies include, but are not limited to the University of Michigan Family Assessment Clinic, Department of Human Services Central Office and County Offices, the Guidance Center, Children's Advocacy Centers, University Health Systems Child Protection Team.


Members of the Child Welfare Learning Community will serve as advisors to Child Welfare Certificate students. Although the general expectation is that the students will follow the Certificate curriculum, advisors will endeavor to assure that each student's courses take into account their specific educational and career goals. For example, a student may want to substitute 3 mini-courses for a three hour course, or a student might substitute a course from another department or school for one of their requirements. Advisors will also work with the Office of Field Education to make sure the students' field placement(s) takes into account their educational and career goals.

Please be sure to view the Child Welfare Certificate course planning worksheet.

How to Apply

Application for Admission to the Child Welfare Certificate Program

University of Michigan Child Welfare Certificate Requirements

  • Foundation Content --21 credits
    • SW 521 Foundation practice methods - Interpersonal practice --3 credits
      • Interpersonal practice students
        • SW 511 Interpersonal Practice Skills Laboratory --3 credits
    • SW 560 Foundation practice methods - Management, community organization, and social policy --3 credits
      • Management, community organization, and social policy students
        • SW 512 Macro Practice Skills Laboratory --3 credits
    • SW 530 Introduction to social welfare policy and services --3 credits
    • SW 504 Diversity and Social Justice in Social Work --3 credits
    • SW 522 Basic social work research --3 credits
    • SW 531/515 Foundation field education and field seminar --3 credits
  • Advanced content --39 credits
    • Practice area concentration--Children and Youth --9 credits
      • SW 696 Social work with children and youth --3 credits
      • SW 633 Children, youth, and family policies --3 credits
      • Choice of --3 credits:
        • SW 605 Infant & child development and behavior
        • SW 601 Adolescent development and behavior
        • SW 612 Mental health and mental disorders of children and youth (from mental health concentration)
    • Practice method concentration --6 credits
      Child welfare certificate students can choose any of the methods concentrations:
      • Interpersonal practice
        • SW 625 Interpersonal practice with children and youth
        • SW 628 Interpersonal practice with individuals
        • SW 623 Interpersonal practice with families
        • SW 624 Interpersonal practice with groups
      • Management of human services
        • SW 664 Management of human resources
        • SW 662 Management information systems
        • SW 663 Grantgetting, contracts, and fund-raising
        • SW 651 Planning for organizational and community change
        • SW 665 Executive leadership and organizational governance
        • SW 661 Budgeting and fiscal management
        • SW 660 Managing Projects and Organizational Change
      • Community organization
        Choice of 2 of the following --6 credits
        • SW 651 Planning for organizational and community change
        • SW 650 Community development
        • SW 652 Organizing for social and political action
        • SW 654 Concepts and techniques of community participation
        • SW 657 Multi-cultural, multi-lingual organizing
        • SW 658 Women and community organization
        • SW 674 Community-Based Policy Advocacy
      • Social policy and evaluation
        • SW 673 Community-Based Policy Advocacy --3 credits
        Choice of 1 of the following --3 credits
        • SW 671 Social policy development and enactment
        • SW 670 Analytic methods for social policy practice
        • SW 685 Methods of program evaluation
        • SW 674 Community-Based Policy Advocacy
    • SW 683 Evaluation --3 credits
    • SW 691 Advanced field education --12 credits
    • Specialization --9 credits
      • SW 730 Child maltreatment and child welfare: Assessment & Intervention --6 credits
      • SW 739 Integrative seminar in child welfare --3 credits

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