Child Welfare Workforce Excellence Fellows Program

In partnership with Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the School of Social Work is offering a fellowship opportunity to full-time incoming and second year MSW students in Direct Practice. The School of Social Work is one of eight programs throughout the country that were awarded a “Workforce Excellence” grant from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) to help prepare MSW students for a career in public child welfare. In return for service in Allegheny County’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families (CYF), participants receive fellowship funding, child welfare internships, focused advising, foundational child welfare training, educational enrichment, and the opportunity to be part of agency organizational enhancement teams. Our goal is that Fellows will enhance the child welfare workforce and become agents of change within the child welfare system.

Application Deadline April 30th

Application Link

The Real Deal: A Realistic Job Preview of a CYF Caseworker

CWWEF Training Fellowship Components


You are eligible for the CWWEF program if you:

  • Are an incoming first year or second year MSW student in the Direct Practice specialization;
  • Are a full-time student
  • Have a valid driver’s license and access to a trustworthy vehicle ;
  • Have an interest in public child welfare;
  • Not currently in default on any outstanding federal or state educational loans;
  • Are prepared to make a legally binding agreement for public child welfare employment in Allegheny County CYF after graduation.
  • Are a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident

Fellowship Funding and Work Obligation

Fellows will receive $16,250 each academic year to assist with tuition and other school related expenses. Fellows are contractually obligated to work at Allegheny County CYF for a specific period of time following graduation in return for participation in the CWWEF program.

Specialized Coursework

In order to equip fellows with a solid knowledge base in the field of child welfare, fellows are required to enroll in the Children, Youth, and Families certificate program. Fellows will also receive academic advising by child welfare faculty.

Child Welfare Field Placements

The CWWEF program requires fellows to complete their generalist field placement at a CYF provider agency that serves children, youth, and families in a public or private setting.

Specialized field placements must be completed at one of the seven regional offices of Allegheny County CYF. If the student is an incoming advanced standing student or a second year student, their specialized field placement will be at a regional office of Allegheny County CYF. During the specialized field placement, fellows will begin Foundations of Pennsylvania Child Welfare Practice. This is a 125-hour curriculum that is comprised of ten specific modules that provide new caseworkers with fundamental concepts needed to effectively work with children, youth, and families served through the public child welfare system.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in agency workforce excellence initiatives and special workgroups. They will also receive mentorship from current CWEL students and CWEL graduates in Allegheny County.

Child Welfare Seminar Series

Fellows are also required to participate in a monthly seminar series. The purpose of the Child Welfare Seminar Series is to help fellows transfer the skills and knowledge obtained in the classroom to their agency field learning experience. Sessions will be held virtually at the present time. In-person sessions will be arranged when conditions permit.

Application Requirements

Students must submit their application form and supplemental materials through the CWERP Application Portal.

  • An application form

  • Personal statement

  • Resume

  • A copy of a valid driver’s license and access to a trustworthy vehicle

  • Faculty recommendation (For applicants who have been out of school for a period of time, an employer recommendation will suffice).Transcripts (We will access this information from the School of Social Work)

  • Admission letter if you are an incoming student 

Once a complete application is received, applicants will be contacted to schedule a brief Zoom interview with CWWEF program staff as part of their application review.  An applicant will be notified of their status (accepted, wait-listed, denied) by June.

If you have any questions, please contact the CWWEF Project Coordinator:

If you have any questions, please contact:

Dr. Helen Cahalane


CWWEF Student Handbook (PDF)