Fieldwork Requirements


Practice opportunities available in agencies should match the knowledge and skill acquisition objectives of the child welfare curriculum. Students' field experiences should be positive and realistic. The following sections define the fieldwork requirements and obligations of the students, the schools and the agencies.

Requirements of the Student

Students must complete the equivalent of two years of field placement in the MSW program (1200 hours total). Each student must spend the equivalent of at least one placement year in a county child welfare agency (CWS) and an additional year of placement may be spent in another public social service such as community mental health or public health or in a public or nonprofit agency delivering services to IV-E child welfare clients. In both placements, the student's caseload shall consist of IV-E eligible cases.

During the student's placement in non-CWS agency, the student must serve IV-E child welfare clients. Such clients are children and families who would have been eligible for AFDC prior to TANF and receiving child welfare related services. Eligible settings could include county child mental health and probation, nonprofit contract or referral agencies (i.e. residential treatment, child abuse treatment services, pediatric health programs, and school-based services in which CWS participates.

Obligations of the School

Schools are responsible for organizing and overseeing the field program and for preparing field instructors for their role. The school may invite participating agencies in curriculum planning to ensure that required competencies are covered in the field. In addition, the school shall provide the agencies with background knowledge about the IV-E curriculum competencies and special needs of IV-E students.

The school will employ a learning agreement to detail student educational objectives and tasks. This agreement will indicate how the child welfare competencies are to be addressed in placement.

Obligations of the Agency

Agencies that participate in the IV-E Program agree to provide field placements with MSW supervision to IV-E students. They must provide students with clients and field assignments congruent with the objectives of IV-E MSW education. The agencies should provide field instructors with release time from other duties to enable them to instruct students and to participate in required training activities.

Agencies are encouraged to participate as appropriate in the development and maintenance of the IV-E educational program, including providing personnel to serve on awards and planning committees and assisting the schools in conducting background checks of students.