MSW child welfare education program

Contact Us 
For further information about the Child Welfare Education Program, please contact us via one of the methods below.

(Recruitment Coordinator)

(Administrative Associate)
 (Program Coordinator)

Child Welfare Education Program
ASU School of Social Work
Mail Code: 3920
411 N. Central Ave. Ste. 800
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0689

(Leslie Boag, Recruitment

(Jama Sandoval, Administrative

(Lindsey Galvin, Program

602-496-0800 (School of Social

In Person:
ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus
University Center, Suite 880

Mandated Reporting

All Social Workers, including social work students placed in field, are mandated reporters of suspected child and neglect.  Each semester at the Preparation for Practice training, social work students entering field are provided information about their duties as a mandated reporter.  View presentation: reporting_abuse.pptx

MSW Child Welfare Education Program  

The program began in 1988 and is funded by the Child Welfare Field Education and Student Support Program, a Title IV-E grant of the Social Security Act. It is a collaborative effort of the Arizona State University School of Social Work and the Arizona Department of Child Safety.  The program provides financial support, a specialized curriculum, and a public child welfare field placement to MSW students.  The Principal Investigators on the grant are Dr. James Herbert Williams, Dr. Lynn Holley, and Miguel Vieyra. 

The mission of the program is to prepare social work students to empower families and promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of the children involved in Arizona's public child welfare system. The goals of the program are to 1) facilitate students' development of culturally responsive and socially just critical decision-making capacities, 2) instill in students' frameworks for viewing both problems and collaborative solution-seeking through trauma-informed, relationally-based, and resiliency theories, and 3) teach engagement, assessment, and intervention skills specific to case management with vulnerable children and families.      

Working for the Department of Child Safety

Work in the field of Public Child Welfare is rewarding and meaningful and is also demanding and challenging. Workers must be able to work with abused and neglected children as well as with those children's families, including the parents who abused and/or neglected them. Additionally, workers testify in court proceedings, write legal reports to the courts, coordinate with multiple agency providers, and provide crisis intervention. The work hours are not always limited to 8 to 5 and workers in the rural regions may be required to rotate performing on-call, after-hours duties.

We advise all applicants to the MSW Child Welfare Education Program to explore whether a career in child welfare would be a good fit for them.  Listed below are several ways you can gain more information about the work of public Child Welfare specifically at the Department of Child Safety.

Upon graduation, MSW CWEP students will be placed for employment at DCS where the need is greatest. This means that neither the job function nor job location can be known in advance. At the time students enter the MSW CWEP, they will sign a contract with DCS. The contract states that the student can be placed for employment at any DCS office in the state of AZ. The contract also states that the student will be hired into a DCS Specialist (case carrying) position. 

Full-Time MSW Child Welfare Education Program (CWEP)

The Child Welfare Education Program provides financial assistance to students dedicated to Child Welfare who are pursuing a Master's degree in Social Work. CWEP recipients must follow the Child Welfare Curriculum while in the Master's program and must work for the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) upon graduation from the program. This program is only available to students admitted to the campus-based programs.

* Students currently employed by DCS are not eligible for this program while working at DCS. Current DCS employees are encouraged to apply to the part-time MSW program (See Below).

Requirements of the Child Welfare Education Program

  • Be a full-time student in the MSW program in good standing
  • Sign a contract with the Department of Child Safety. View a sample contract 
  • Complete the Child Welfare Specialization Curriculum
  • Complete a field placement at a Child Welfare Education Unit
  • Be willing and able to work full-time for DCS in AZ for either 24 months (advanced standing students) or 36 months (standard program students) upon graduation with the geographic location being dependent upon the agency's need
  • Meet the essential DCS work requirements

DCS Work Requirements

  • Pass a DCS background check including fingerprinting, screening through the state child abuse registry, and not have a DUI within the past 5 years
  • Comply with the DCS driving policy.
  • Have a valid driver's license, insurance, and a vehicle capable of transporting at least two passengers
  • Submit a current Driver's Record for the past 36 months. This can be obtained from and should be included with your application.
  • Be able to visually assess children and homes for signs of abuse and neglect
  • Be able to conduct home visits to homes which may not be wheelchair accessible
  • Be able to document and communicate using a computer
  • Be able to interview children and adults in English

Note: Though not being able to fulfill all of these functions does not automatically rule out any applicant, it is important for DCS to know whether or not reasonable accommodations can be made. ANY NEEDED ACCOMMODATIONS SHOULD BE EXPLAINED ON THE CWEP APPLICATION FORM.

Award Packages

There are 3 different packages available. 

  • Package A provides in-state graduate tuition and mandatory fees for both academic years of the MSW program for each of the 9 month academic years.  Students receiving this package are contracted to work full-time for AZ DCS for a minimum of 36 months.   
  • Package B1 provides in-state graduate tuition and mandatory fees for four academic semesters and for two 6 week summer sessions (for the 3 credits of field only).  Students receiving this package are contracted to work full-time for AZ DCS for a minimum of 36 months. 
  • Package B2 provides in-state graduate tuition and mandatory fees for three academic semesters and for two 6 week summer sessions (for the 3 credits of field only).  Students receiving this package are contracted to work full-time for AZ DCS for a minimum of 36 months.     
  • Package C is for Advanced Standing students.  It provides in-state graduate tuition and mandatory fees for the two summer sessions and for the 9 month academic year.  Students receiving this package are contracted to work full-time for AZ DCS for a minimum of 24 months.   

CWEP application materials and instructions

 The application deadline for those applying to the Standard Two Year MSW program is June 19, 2020

The deadline for CWEP Applications for those applying to the MSW Advanced Standing Program is February 2021. This is for students that will be starting the Advanced Standing MSW program in May 2021.

In order for your CWEP application to receive maximum consideration we recommend that students submit a completed MSW application to the ASU School of Social Work prior to applying to the Child Welfare Education Program.

Information Sessions 

Information sessions about the MSW Child Welfare Education Program will be held at ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, 411 N. Central Avenue, UCENT Room #822A, Phoenix, AZ on the following dates:       

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 2pm-3:30pm to register please click here:


Thursday, March 26, 2020 from 10am-11:30am to register please click here: 

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we regret that we have to cancel this event. Please reach out to with any questions regarding the program!

Info sessions will be an informal question/answer conversation with CWEP staff, DCS workers, and alumni of our program. It is an opportunity to gain more information about the program, internship, and what it's like working at DCS currently.  Ask us anything!

For questions about the info session, please email

Submission instructions: Please submit your initial application and associated materials via the on-line application.  

Initial Application 

The initial application consists of 1) CWEP on-line application, 2) Resume, and 3) Essay that addresses the 6 questions outlined below. Please follow the steps below to apply for the program. 

1. Collect your resume. Ensure that the resume is saved on the device you will be using to complete the application and saved as either MS Word documents (will have a .doc or .docx file extension) or Adobe Acrobat documents (will have a .pdf file extension). 

  • Resume - A current copy of your resume which includes each of the following: 1) educational experience; 2) employment and professional experience; 3) volunteer experience (be sure to include your volunteer placement completed for your Social Service Delivery Systems class, if applicable).

2. In a personal essay of 2-4 typed pages, address the 6 topics outlined below.  In writing the essay, please comply with the following APA guidelines: one-inch margins, double-spaced, 12 pt., Times New Roman font, use of headings and sub-headings, and inclusive of page numbers. Please also be sure your name is on the document and that it is saved on the device you will be using to complete the on-line application as either an MS Word document (.doc or .docx file extension) or Adobe Acrobat document (.pdf file extension).    

  1. my interest in working in the field of child welfare;
  2. my experience in working with vulnerable children and families;
  3. my understanding of the roles and responsibilities of DCS specialists (on-going case managers/investigators) at the Department of Child Safety (DCS) and my understanding of the kinds of things I would be doing as a DCS specialist;
  4. my strengths in being a DCS specialist;
  5. challenges I may face in being a DCS specialist;
  6. my understanding of the commitment to work for DCS upon graduation; and if applicable - additional information I would like you to know about me that I believe is important in considering my application for this program. 

3. Open the on-line application and complete it by clicking on the "CWEP Application" button below. Note that the on-line form will save your entries for up to two weeks. The data you enter in the form is associated with your IP address. For this reason, if you are using a computer that is not private, you are strongly encouraged to open the application from an incognito window (in Google Chrome, click on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner and click on "New incognito window"). Additionally, because the form is saving your data, you will not be able to start the application over or go back past a skip question (e.g., which program you ware applying for) unless you wait two weeks, use a different computer, or open the form from an incognito window.  

Download application

Background Screening 

If you pass the record review of your initial application materials, you will be notified via email to proceed with the background screening process. Please do NOT submit the screening forms until you have received word that you passed the initial application phase. The screening documents are included below for your reference. Please review the forms to ensure that you will be able to pass the screening process and be eligible for the CWEP. The screening process includes the submission of 4 forms, a fingerprint clearance card or application, and driving record.       

  1. consent_for_release_of_educational_and_applicant_records_9.3.2019.pdf
  2. consent_to_release_central_registry_and_child_abuse_records.pdf
  3.  certification_of_criminal_offense.pdf
  4.  intern_application.pdf
  5. Fingerprint Clearance Card materials - If you already have a valid, Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the State of Arizona Department of Public Safety within the last 5 years, you will be asked to make a copy of BOTH sides of the card along with a copy (all on the same page) of your social security card. If you do not have a valid, Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card, you will be asked to apply for one. Jama Sandoval ( will provide you the necessary forms and instructions for obtaining the card. Please note that you MUST use the fingerprint application form supplied by our program and you will NOT have to pay for the fingerprinting process.
  6. Driver's license record - You will be asked to provide a copy of your driver's license record to ensure that you do not have more than 8 points over the past 12 months. The record needs to be inclusive of at least the past 36 months. Students with Arizona driver's licenses can obtain this information from The cost of obtaining the record through the website is $3.00. This fee is payable directly to the site. This fee is the responsibility of the student. If you have an out-of-state driver's license, you should consult your state's department or division of motor vehicles in order to get a driver's license record.

Questions can be directed to:

Jama Sandoval - Administrative Associate.; 602-496-0486 (questions about the on-line application, fingerprint cards, or deadlines)

Leslie Boag - Recruitment and Retention Coordinator.; 602-496-0288 (questions about completing the application, the program, or the DCS work commitment)

Lindsey Galvin - Program Coordinator.; 602-496-0081 (questions about academic eligibility, plans of study, or working at DCS)

Selection process

The selection process proceeds as follows:

  1. Students' applications, essays, resumes, and applications from the School of Social Work & Graduate College are reviewed by a committee consisting of CWEP staff.  
  2. Those who pass the initial application record review are provided with instructions to complete the screening process consisting of submitting four forms, a fingerprint clearance card or application for one, and their driving record.  
  3. Those who pass the background screening process are invited to be interviewed by a DCS committee and given an impromptu writing exercise at the interview.
  4. Acceptance or denial letters are emailed to all students who applied.   

The selection process can take two to three months. Please note, however, all students will be notified of their status prior to the semester for which they applied for entry into the CWEP.

The record review of applicants is primarily based on whether or not the committee feels that the student would be a good fit as an employee at DCS and can complete the MSW Program in a timely manner. Selection criteria include but are not limited to:

  1. Evidence of a desire to work in child welfare, specifically at the Department of Child Safety; and of the desire to pursue child welfare as a career choice.
  2. Evidence the student has been admitted to ASU’s School of Social Work and is capable of completing graduate level education in a timely manner. 
  3. Evidence that the student understands the requirements of the work commitment and is willing and able to work at the Arizona Department of Child Safety for the contracted time upon graduation.
  4. Evidence that the student has a basic knowledge of the work of child welfare and what she/he would be doing as a child welfare worker.
  5. Evidence that the student would not be personally overwhelmed by daily exposure to poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, parents and children with mental health problems, and child abuse and neglect.
  6. Evidence of writing competency as assessed through the personal statement and resume.
  7. Evidence of organizational skills and ability to follow instructions as assessed by the thoroughness of the submitted application.

 MSW Child Welfare Specialization

All full-time MSW CWEP students are required to follow the child welfare specialization curriculum. Other students interested in participating in the specialization should call Lindsey Galvin at (602) 496-0081. The Child Welfare Curriculum follows the 60 credit MSW curriculum (there are no additional courses required).


These are the basic requirements:

  1. Two-year MSW students may either choose the Advanced Direct Practice (ADP) or Planning, Administration, and Community (PAC) concentration. Advanced Standing students must choose the ADP concentration. 
  2. Advanced Direct Practice (ADP) students must take the ADP classes of the Public Child Welfare Specialization. Electives must be chosen from among those approved as Child Welfare Electives.
  3. All students in the Planning, Administration and Community (PAC) Concentration must complete their Child Welfare Education Unit placement during their first year and must take the ADP classes of the Public Child Welfare Specialization SWG 608, SWG 609, and SWG 633.   
  4. All papers and research assignments, to the extent possible, should be related to child welfare topics.
  5. Please note that the Program does not pay for summer classes above those required for each students' specific package (i.e. the program pays for the 3 credits of field for the first and second summer session for those in a summer block child welfare training unit). 

The Child Welfare Education Program coordinates six Child Welfare Education Units (CWEU) which are located within the Department of Child Safety. These units are responsible for both working active Department of Child Safety on-going cases and for the training of students in best practice models. Field placements (internships) are open to all MSW students, providing there is space available. All CWEP students must complete one of their field placements in a CWEU. Five Education Units are located across the Phoenix metro area, and one is in Tucson.  

Advantages of a Field Placement in a Education Unit:

  • An educational curriculum is followed
  • The activities of the unit are geared toward student learning
  • The supervisors and social workers are allotted time to spend with students
  • One-on-one supervision

To arrange a visit at one of the Child Welfare Field Units please email Leslie Boag at

* CWEP students in the standard program will be placed outside of the education unit for one of the years they are in the MSW program. This placement must either be on the approved list of placements or be approved by the program coordinator.

Download approved field placements: 


Part-Time MSW Program for current DCS Employees 

The Department of Child Safety offers a Title IV-E program for current employees.  Applicants are first selected by DCS based on eligibility requirements determined by DCS.  Applicants must then apply to and be admitted to the ASU Graduate College/Master of Social Work program.   For more information about this program please call Lindsey Galvin-White at (602) 496-0081 or email her at

Applicants have been pre-selected by DCS for the cohort starting August 2020.  Applicants in this cohort are currently working with Lindsey Galvin regarding their application to the School of Social Work and/or registration for Fall.   

In approximately July 2020, DCS will release a call to their employees announcing the eligibility and application process for the MSW on-line program available to staff who live in rural areas.  Employees who are selected by DCS and admitted* to the MSW on-line program would begin that program in January 2021.  

In approximately November 2020, DCS will release a call to their employees announcing the eligibility and application process for the MSW on-campus program for the Phoenix Downtown and Tucson campuses.  Employees who are selected for that program by DCS and are admitted* to the MSW on-campus program would begin their MSW program in August 2021.

* In addition to other criteria, to be admitted to the MSW program, applicants must have a 3.0 GPA in their Junior/Senior coursework of their baccalaureate degree.