For undergraduate social work students in Kentucky who are interested in obtaining the knowledge and skills needed to better serve the state's children and families, it is strongly recommended that you consider participating in the Public Child Welfare Certification Program (PCWCP). Through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the program is designed to fill the shortage for qualified child welfare workers who can provide high-quality social work services immediately following graduation. In partnership with the ten universities in Kentucky to offer Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degrees, the program provides an in-depth child welfare training curriculum throughout the junior and senior years. Read on to learn more about how the Public Child Welfare Certification Program works to determine whether it is the ideal match for your professional goals in social work.
Benefits of Joining the Public Child Welfare Certification Program
When undergraduate social work majors decide to join Kentucky's Public Child Welfare Certification Program, there are numerous benefits that can help to jumpstart a rewarding career specifically in the specialty area of child welfare. Students will receive a full in-state tuition waiver for up to four semesters while participating in the program. In addition to paid academic expenses, students are granted $1,300 each semester as a stipend to help cover the costs of textbooks, room and board, living expenses, and travel for two years. After students complete the program successfully, graduates will also benefit from gaining certification and assistance from the Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) to acquire employment immediately upon degree completion.
Obligations for Those in the Public Child Welfare Certification Program
Since all participants in the PCWCP are signed under contract by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), there are a number of obligations, responsibilities, and expectations that all students should be aware of before signing the dotted line. Participating students are required to complete the necessary requirements for the BSW degree and certification within two years on full-time status. All students must satisfactorily complete a field practicum in a child welfare position, attend all mandatory retreats within the program, and attend both PCWCP Part I and Part II training during their last senior semester. After graduation, students must accept full-time employment with the CHFS or DCBS in a child welfare role, successfully complete their first six-month probationary period, and remain employed there for at least two years.
Public Child Welfare Certification Program Application Requirements
For those who are currently enrolled at one of the participating universities in the Public Child Welfare Certification Program, it is important to be aware that this is a selective program that has some strict eligibility requirements to ensure students are well-qualified. Applicants must be full-time social work majors who are starting their junior year in an accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program with three or four semesters left before graduation. While students must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher, it is required that candidates have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in all social work coursework. Students must also receive no less than a "B" in all of the required PCWCP courses and field practicum experiences.
Overall, public child welfare services have had a long history of struggling to find and maintain well-qualified frontline social workers to fulfill vital roles. The PCWCP has been established to provide tuition, stipends, and special concentration experiences in public child welfare training in the final two years of participating BSW programs for students interested in working with children and families in need. Since the inception of the Public Child Welfare Certification Program, Kentucky has experienced exceptional outcomes in the preparation, recruitment, and retention systems with over 700 well-prepared workers being added into the workforce.