Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL)

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Program Description

The Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL) program is a cooperative effort among the United States Administration for Children and Families, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the Pennsylvania Child and Youth Administrators and thirteen accredited schools of social work in Pennsylvania. Its goal is to strengthen public child welfare services in Pennsylvania by providing educational opportunities at the graduate level for public child welfare personnel. Qualified persons who are admitted to any of the approved schools on either a full- or part-time basis may receive substantial financial support in return for a contractual obligation to continue employment with the sponsoring agency following their studies.

Any employee of a Pennsylvania county child welfare agency may apply provided the applicant has the prerequisite academic degree from an accredited institution of higher education; has been employed by the same agency for a minimum of two years; has at least satisfactory performance evaluations; and (if applying for full-time study) is granted an educational leave by the employing agency for the purpose of enrolling in the CWEL program. Part-time students must also receive county agency approval for CWEL participation. Those who have already started a graduate Social Work program in a CWEL school may also apply, so long as they are in good academic standing and they do not have any outstanding debts to the  school in which they are enrolled. Persons currently in default of federal educational loans are ineligible. Caseworkers, supervisors, and administrative personnel are all eligible to participate.

Please be advised that the regular CWEL application deadline is April 30th.  We begin reviewing applications in May and continue to review them during the summer.

IMPORTANTFor the following applicants, the application deadline is March 15th:

  • ALL applicants to Slippery Rock University 
  • Advanced Standing applicants to:
    • Bryn Mawr College
    • Edinboro University 
    • Kutztown University
    • Marywood University
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Temple University
    • Widener University
  • The application deadline for Millersville and Shippensburg Universities is April 15th for the in-person program and July 15th for the fully online program

Each school program has criteria for the awarding of advanced standing to applicants with an undergraduate social work degree from a CSWE Board of Accreditation- accredited institution. Full-time advanced standing students with the option to complete their program within one year are required to select that course of study.  Students with Advanced Standing / Summer starts will hear from us earliest.

PLEASE NOTE: You must complete the CWEL online application form by the due date, even if you have not received all of your other documentation (such as school acceptance).
Applications to CWEL

The 2023-2024 application cycle has closed.  Please apply for consideration in the 2024-2025 academic year.

All applicants must complete the Online CWEL Application 
Additionally, the following documents are required to complete an application to CWEL:

  1. Current Resume
  2. County/OCYF approval for admission to the CWEL program
  3. School acceptance letter
  4. A personal statement detailing your reasons for wishing to enter the CWEL program and your reflections regarding pertinent child welfare issues.
  5. Graduate school transcript if already enrolled in school

Accompanying documents must be submitted online through the CWERP application portal.
PLEASE NOTE:  All applicants must complete the online application

Additional Information

CWEL Expense Reimbursement Guide

CWEL Student Handbook

CWEL Flyer

CWEL Orientation 2023