Child Welfare Certificate

Maroon and Gold Logo of Potted Tree with Gold Text Michigan Child Welfare CertificateAs a social work major, you can earn a child welfare certificate endorsed and regulated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) - the agency charged with protecting Michigan's children. MDHHS and private agencies across Michigan give hiring preferences for child welfare certificate graduates. You may also waive a portion of their new worker training.

Even if you choose not to pursue your child welfare certificate, taking child welfare courses is an asset for every social worker.

  • Having this knowledge will help you to advocate for your clients.
  • You will develop a comprehensive understanding of the child welfare and legal systems, empowering you to navigate these complex systems confidently.
  • You'll learn about trauma, attachment, abuse/neglect, child development, parenting styles, testifying in court, and engaging with clients in the child welfare system.

Certificate requirements

The certificate is structured to make minimal demands on your academic planning and can fit with most students’ schedules without complications.

  • Social Work major completing the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree
  • Completion of an online application for the Child Welfare Certificate (CWC), preferably when applying to the Social Work Program. The earlier an application is received and processed, the higher the likelihood that courses and training can be integrated into a student’s schedule with little impact on their course load. 
  • Completion of the required SWK 305 (Overview of Child Welfare) course
  • Participation in required training provided by organizations with expertise, online modules, readings with applications, etc. These sessions will be provided at no cost to the student. If a student feels that a particular course they have taken fulfills these requirements, they will need approval for substitution from their CWC advisor.
    • Substance Use Disorders
    • Domestic Violence/Interpersonal Violence
    • Sexual Abuse and Normative Sexual Development
    • Crisis Intervention
    • Suicide Prevention
    • Case Management and Assessment
    • Self-Care
  • Completion of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). This occurs during the social work students' junior or senior year as part of the BSW degree.
  • A senior-year practicum in a public or private child welfare agency (SWK 470/480), including seminars (SWK 471 and 481)

Social Work practicum

Child welfare certificate practicum education agencies are some of the most respected agencies in Michigan and are located in all 83 counties. In addition to working at MDHHS in various child welfare services, one can intern in a private agency and provide family preservation services, foster care, residential treatment, adoption, and licensing services.

Our faculty coordinate practicum experiences for all social work majors and will place students pursuing child welfare certificates at qualifying sites.

Michigan Title IV-E Fellowship

The Title IV-E Child Welfare Fellowship is an opportunity to provide additional resources and support to social work students committed to working in the Child Welfare System - Children’s Protective Services, Foster Care, Licensing, and Adoption.