Skip to main content

Child Welfare Education Collaborative

Young girl at desk in classroom


The North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative is a program designed to provide educational support both undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in working in public child welfare in North Carolina upon graduation. The “Collaborative” seeks to strengthen public child welfare services in North Carolina by increasing the number and diversity of well-trained and highly-committed BSWs and MSWs employed in local Department of Social Services (DSS) offices. The Collaborative provides special educational opportunities emphasizing public child welfare practice for selected social work students who commit to a field placement/ internship in child welfare in a North Carolina county Department of Social Services office.

The Child Welfare Education Collaborative was established in 1999 to improve public child welfare services in North Carolina and the retention of highly trained social workers in the field of public child welfare. The program is administered by the Jordan Institute for Families at UNC Chapel Hill and is funded by a combination of state and federal funds. The Collaborative is a joint effort of the NC Division of Social Services, the NC Association of County Directors of Social Services, the National Association of Social Workers NC Chapter, and social work education programs across North Carolina.

NC Child Welfare Education Collaborative

At WCU, both BSW and MSW students can participate in the NC Child Welfare Education Collaborative program as unfunded Child Welfare Collaborative Waiver Students. All students who participate in the Collaborative at WCU must (1) take the Child Welfare course offered at WCU (SOCW 426 for BSW students; SOCW 526 for MSW students), (2) participate in a week long, intensive e-PST online training prior to beginning field placement, (3) attend various learning and orientation events held at both WCU and other locations across the state, and (4) complete a field placement in a child welfare services position at a NC Department of Social Services office.

In exchange for completing these requirements, upon graduation Child Welfare Collaborative Waiver students will receive a DSS Pre-Service Certificate which provides the opporutnity to be hired at DSS at a higher pay grade than new employees without the Pre-Service Certificate.

If you are interested in applying to be a NC Child Welfare Collaborative Waiver student, please make plans to discuss your interest in the Collaborative program with Dr. Tonya M. Westbrook. Applications are accepted during each spring semester for fall entry into the program and each fall semester for spring entry into the program. Application due dates will be announced each semester.

More Information

If you have a strong commitment to pursue a career in child welfare, you are invited to submit an application to the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative. For additional information, please contact our Child Welfare Education Collaborative Faculty Liaison:

Tonya Westbrook - Associate Professor
Department of Social Work
310 Health and Human Sciences Building
Phone: 828.227.2578 

Office of Web Services