Are you passionate about working with vulnerable populations, transforming individual lives and helping children and families to thrive? A master’s degree in social work with a concentration in Child Welfare will prepare you for a career working with children, youth and families across the continuum of care within the child welfare system, from entry to exit in both public and private child welfare agencies.
With a multisystemic approach, this concentration focuses on the use of culturally responsive, evidence-based interventions with children and families who have experienced child maltreatment, poverty, domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse. You'll develop an understanding of the impact of trauma, poverty and substance use on children and families involved in child welfare and the underlying systemic issues related to disproportionality and disparities for children and families of color.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GSSW now offers additional start dates and program tracks for the Two-Year and Advanced-Standing Denver Campus MSW Programs. Learn More and Apply Now.
Your Career Options
With an MSW concentration in Child Welfare your social work job could entail:
- Investigating child abuse and neglect referrals
- Conducting foster and adoptive home studies
- Working to reunify families impacted by child maltreatment
- Preparing adolescents for emancipation and independent living
- Advocating for child welfare policy reform
- Supervising teams of entry-level case workers
- Improving child welfare services by conducting evaluation and research
Forensic Orientation in Social Work Practice: Assessment and Interventions with High-Risk Offenders
About this Course
Presents and applies a framework for assessing and intervening with offender populations. This risk and containment framework takes a community safety and victim-centered perspective and focuses on assessing and intervening with multiple systems surrounding offenders. The framework is then applied to specific interventions with domestic violence abuse offenders and with adult and adolescent sexual offenders.
About this Course
This is a concentration year practice elective focusing on understanding, assessing, and intervening with domestic violence, understood as violence occurring in the context of intimate relationships. The purpose of this course is to provide students with the theoretical understanding and practice skills necessary to establish a beginning competence in assessing and intervening with domestic violence and in developing community, systemic, and policy responses.
Practice Elements in Interventions with Children and Youth
About this Course
This course offers an integrative framework of theory and research to intervene with children and adolescents in school, family, and community-based agencies. Interventions include both direct work with children and collaborative/conjoint work with parents. Techniques include common elements across empirically-supported interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavioral treatment, client centered treatment, social skills training, and parent management training. Intervention strategies are described across four primary problem areas common among children/adolescents: anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, and attention deficit disorder. For each of these problem areas, intervention techniques are demonstrated, practiced in class, implemented in field placements, and monitored for client progress. The use of empirically-supported interventions is discussed from a multidimensional perspective with consideration for cultural context and adaptations necessary for particular client groups.
Explore some of our field education locations with a focus on Child Welfare & Child Maltreatment
Jefferson County Department of Human Services, Adoption Services and Child Protection
Arapahoe and Jefferson Counties have joined forces to recruit, train, certify and support foster families throughout the metro Denver area. These families provide care for children who cannot remain safely in their homes. Interns work in the adoption and ongoing child protection units.
Adams County: The Link
The Link ensures assessment-driven prevention and intervention services for at-risk youth and their families. They provide behavioral assessments, family mediation, referrals for community-based interventions, detention screening, case management services and in-house groups. Social work interns focus on family interventions, case management, probation, marketing, grant writing, group facilitation, presentations at local police department briefings and more.
A New World Child Placement Agency
A New World is a nonprofit that promotes and supports children who need foster care placement. It provides therapeutic foster care and group homes for children with special needs or behavioral problems. The organization’s goal is to help children be better prepared for family reunification and transition into society. Interns learn all aspects of child welfare services related to children in the foster care system and perform case-management duties, such as assisting with weekly and monthly home visits, school visits, and foster care family observation and home-safety compliance.
Denver Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Division
Denver’s Child Welfare Division works to protect Denver’s children and youth from harm by providing services and advocacy while promoting family stability, respecting diversity and working to strengthen family connections to community resources. The agency’s internship program provides an established educational environment to prepare students to become effective, knowledgeable social workers. Interns develop and enhance their assessment and documentation skills as they become familiar with the child welfare system and its impact on families and children.
Savio House offers comprehensive services that strengthen families and prevent child abuse, neglect and youth delinquency. Its programs range from in-home counseling and crisis intervention services to therapeutic foster care, temporary residential treatment and an on-site school. Interns participate in individual, family and school meetings, as well as court review hearings with clients and their families.
Child Welfare at GSSW
Supporting Child Welfare Workers
The Graduate School of Social Work Butler Institute for Families has responded to COVID-19 with a free webinar series supporting the nation’s child welfare workforce.
GSSW Professor Heather Taussig has received a Fulbright Award to Wales, where she’ll work collaboratively to build evidence for interventions intended to improve outcomes for maltreated youth.
Changes in Child Welfare
The dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism are changing social work’s approach to child welfare practice. GSSW faculty and community partners discuss new changes, challenges and opportunities in child welfare.
Upcoming Final Application Deadline: August 2021 Two-Year Denver Campus Program