In 1990, the deans and directors of California’s then ten graduate schools of social work and the County Welfare Directors Association, with the help of the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and with funding from the Ford Foundation, collaborated to create the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC). CalSWEC’s goal was to improve the education and training of social workers for the publicly supported social services. In 1992, CalSWEC entered into a contract with the California Department of Social Services to develop the Title IV-E MSW program to prepare and provide financial aid for students and graduates for careers in public child welfare. This consortium has since grown to include 17 California schools of social work. In 2003-2004, work began to develop a BASW program much the same as the MSW. In fall 2004, the first cohort of this program began.
Financial support for the BASW students is provided through federal Title IV-E training funds. Title IV-E of the Social Security Act authorized the Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs to provide federal matching funds to states to: improve the quality of care of children in foster care, reduce the number of children in foster care, return children to their homes as soon as conditions permit, and facilitate the adoption or permanent placement of children who cannot be returned to their homes.
The Title IV-E stipends provide one year of support for full-time students who complete the BASW program with appropriate specialization in preparation for careers in public child welfare. The stipend amount is $15,000 for the senior year of study in the BASW program. Part-time students, limited to current employees of a county child welfare or social service agency or the state Department of Social Services, receive full tuition and fees, costs for required books, and a travel allowance for each day of class or fieldwork for three years.
Commencing with the 2005-2006 academic year, each of the CalSWEC BASW programs began awarding up to twenty student slots. These slots may be for a combination of full or part-time students.
Undergraduate students must be enrolled full-time. Upon declaration of their major and satisfactory completion of all relevant coursework, the student may apply for admission to the CalSWEC BASW program. Current employees of county Departments of Social Services are given admission preference, but they must be on educational leave (i.e., not receiving pay from the agency during the academic year) to receive the full-time stipend. The employees may work during break periods and summers and may perform fieldwork in their agency. Stipend recipients must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, have a valid driver’s license and secure the use of a car as required for fieldwork, and must undergo prescreening for county employment. Upon graduation, they must also fulfill a work commitment.
Undergraduate students must be enrolled part-time. Upon declaration of their major and satisfactory completion of all relevant coursework, the student may apply for admission to the CalSWEC BASW program. Admittance to the part-time CalSWEC BASW program is limited to current employees of county Departments of Social Services, or public child welfare services agencies, or the California Department of Social Services. Applicants must have a letter of support from the director of the county. Recipients must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, have a valid driver’s license and secure the use of a car as required for fieldwork, and must undergo prescreening for county employment. Upon graduation, they must also fulfill a work commitment.
Currently enrolled students may apply for CalSWEC by completing application forms specific to the Title IVE program. The application includes a series of questions to answer in writing related to the student’s understanding of public child welfare. Reference letters and an oral interview are also required. Awards decisions are made by a committee comprised of faculty, administration, and agency representatives from county child welfare services. Priority is given to current county and state Department of Social Services employees and applicants who reflect the diverse client populations currently served by child welfare agencies in California.
Students must complete the entire BASW curriculum program, specialized child welfare seminars, and a field placement in a county child welfare agency serving Title IVE children and families.
Upon graduation, students must work in a county child welfare services agency for one year. Employees must return to their county, or the state Department of Social Services, in a position at a level appropriate to a new BASW in public child welfare. If a position meeting these requirements is not available in the agency to which service is owed, the student must apply for and accept an equivalent or higher position in a county child welfare service within a 75-mile radius of the student’s residence. If this is not available, the student must search and apply for—and accept—a BASW equivalent or higher position in any California county child welfare services agency or with the California Department of Social Services. A student who is not a current employee must apply for and accept a position appropriate to a new BASW in a public child welfare agency within a 75-mile radius of the student’s residence. If no position is available within 75 miles, the student must search and apply for—and accept—a BASWlevel position in any California county child welfare services agency or with the California Department of Social Services.
Native American Indian graduates with tribal rights may complete their work commitment in the following settings as alternatives to California child welfare services:
a. A reservation or rancheria providing child welfare services in California,
b. An urban Indian agency in California serving Title IVE eligible children and families, or,
c. A reservation providing child welfare services in another state.
Participating counties develop educational leave and release time policies, publicize the program, agree to reemploy trainees as long as jobs are available, provide quality fieldwork with appropriate supervision in accordance with school requirements, seek to schedule hiring procedures to fit graduate employment time restrictions, and seek to give hiring preference to graduates. County directors serve on the CalSWEC Board of Directors.
For further information, contact:
Joy Rubin, CalSWEC Project Coordinator
Dr. Lisa Jennings, Undergraduate Program Director
(562) 985-8629 ~ or ~