CWSP updates

Child Welfare Stipend Program

Preparing social work practitioners to engage families, support children and foster connections

Are you interested in child welfare, and working with children and families? If so, check out this important program that will prepare you for a meaningful career in child welfare while offering some incredible benefits.

About the program

The Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services and four state universities within Virginia, including Virginia Commonwealth University. This specialized training program, funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, prepares social work students for a career in public child welfare. The goal of the CWSP at VCU is to recruit and prepare a caring, competent and innovative child welfare workforce in Virginia. News and updates about CWSP »

Program benefits

The CWSP at VCU provides students with the following training and support:

  • Field placement experience within a local department of social services
  • Required training through the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center
  • Child welfare-specific coursework
  • Topical and skills workshops
  • Support in the employment search process
  • A supportive network of professionals, including current child welfare workers, community partners, cohort members and university coordinators

Stipend amount awarded

B.S.W. and M.S.W. students accepted into this program receive a $10,000 stipend per academic year.


In exchange for the stipend and child welfare training, the stipend recipient has a work payback requirement to work at a local department of social services within the Commonwealth of Virginia, in foster care, adoption and/or in-home (prevention) services, for one calendar year for each academic year the stipend was received.

Why child welfare?

It is a crucial time for social workers to specialize in child welfare practice as practitioners and researchers grapple with the history of child welfare and current implications for this area of practice. The existing child welfare workforce needs new colleagues to join them in the field who are critical thinkers, diligent workers, full of compassion and agents of change. Child welfare practitioners have been working with policymakers to shift the child welfare system toward prevention and to work toward better outcomes for youth currently in foster care; there is so much important work to do.

How to apply

VCU B.S.W. and M.S.W. students can apply for the stipend. Review the next sections to learn about the application process.

Preparing your application packet

The following steps must be completed and your documents submitted by the application deadline to be considered. Your emailed submission of required documents will be acknowledged within five business days of submission.

Applications are now closed for the 2023-24 cohort.

The application process for the 2024-2025 cohort will open October 2023.

Application deadlines

The CWSP at VCU solicits applications for full-time current and prospective students each year to apply to join the program as a part of a cohort that begins in the fall semester. Applications for each cohort open in October for the following academic year cohort.

Complete application packets are due according to the following deadlines (exact dates subject to change each year):

  • Closed: March 15, 2023, for the following groups of students:
    • Prospective incoming students for the M.S.W. advanced standing formats*
    • Prospective incoming students for the M.S.W. regular standing formats*
    • Current B.S.W. students going into their senior year in Fall 2023

*Prospective students: You may not yet have your M.S.W. admission decision prior to the CWSP application date; however, you still must apply to be considered, as application packets received after the CWSP March 15 application deadline will not be considered.

  • Closed: Dec. 14, 2022, for M.S.W. on-campus and online students starting their specialization year (third semester) Fall 2023.
    • This group includes M.S.W online students beginning the M.S.W. Program in the Spring 2023 semester on the 16-month track.
    • Application packets for students to join the CWSP cohort in their third semester (Fall 2023) submitted after the Dec. 14 application deadline were not considered.

Resources for child welfare practice and research

If you're interested in additional resources, please review:

Contact us

For questions about the program, contact Naomi Reddish, Child Welfare Stipend Program coordinator, at cwstipend@vcu.edu.

Meet more of our graduates

Check out the CWSP Class of 2023