Child Well-Being & Child Welfare Specialization

The Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization (CW2) educates students to provide clinical and macro social work services in a culturally competent manner to produce positive outcomes for children and families while also ensuring child safety, permanency, and well-being.

Under the direction of expert faculty, students in this specialization gain a broad understanding of practice methods and the continuum of services and policies that are intended to protect children and preserve families. The focused curriculum on social work practice, policy, and services includes coursework on skills to work effectively with children and their families and strategies for productive change in service delivery systems. Students complete field placements that offer opportunities for cutting edge practice in the specialization area, including (but not limited to) the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, Philadelphia Department of Human Services, child advocacy centers, child protection teams, schools, and mental health settings.

The CW2 specialization is designed to integrate clinical and macro social work practice across the field of child welfare, including children’s mental health, child protective services, in-home services, foster care, school adjustment, and medical and social issues. Students receive instruction in evidence-based practice and management strategies in order to develop competency in working with children and youth in a variety of contexts. SP2 is committed to developing highly skilled, trauma-informed child welfare social work practitioners and leaders who are committed to practice, management, and advocacy in a range of children’s services.

CW2 is led by a member of the SP2 standing faculty with expertise in child welfare:

Headshot of Johanna Greeson

Johanna K.P. Greeson, PhD, MSS, MLSP

  • Associate Professor

  • Managing Faculty Director, The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice & Research

  • Director, Child Well-Being & Child Welfare Specialization (CW2)

  • Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education (Secondary Appointment)

3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
  • office: 215.898.7540
  • fax: 215.573.2099

Associate Professor; PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009. The transition to adulthood among youth who age out of foster care; natural mentoring and other supportive adult relationships for youth who age out of foster care; child traumatic stress; applied community-based intervention research and translation of research to practice; resiliency, risk and protective factors; neurobiological mechanisms of resiliency-focused interventions; life course theory; domestic minor sex trafficking


The Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization is open to students in the Full-time (two-year) and Advanced Standing programs. CW2 is open to students in both the clinical and macro concentrations. Part-time students can complete the specialization if they are willing to take three classes in their final semester (SWRK 714 or 718, SWRK 713, and SWRK 732). This scenario requires careful planning with the student’s academic advisor.

Specialization Requirements

Students must complete the following in order to qualify for the specialization:

SWRK 731: Clinical and Macro Child Welfare Practice. Fall semester, Advanced Year.

SWRK 732: Integrative Seminar in Child Welfare. Spring semester, Advanced Year

Child or youth- focused elective. This course can be taken at SP2 or in another Penn school or department, provided the elective is approved by both the student’s academic advisor and the CW2 program. Pre-approved electives include:

  • SWRK 706: Policies for Children and their Families
  • SWRK 722: Practice with Children and Adolescents
  • SWRK 724: Developmental Disabilities
  • SWRK 742: Practice with Youth Who are Marginalized
  • SWRK 773: Mental Health Challenges in Childhood and Adolescence
  • SWRK 786: Social Work Practice & Trauma
  • SWRK 796: Family Economic Mobility
  • SWRK 798: Social Work in Schools

Field placement in the student’s concentration (clinical or macro) in a child- or youth-focused agency. (The child-focused placement may be completed in either the foundation or advanced year.)

Conference participation in the spring of the final year.

Conferences & Workshops

In their final semester (spring of advanced year), CW2 students attend the annual Pennsylvania Council on Children, Youth, and Family Services conference overnight in Harrisburg, PA. This unique educational opportunity offers students the chance to learn from a range of experts in the field while networking with child welfare leaders. The costs of lodging, meals, transportation, and the conference itself are covered for students in the specialization.

Ostroff CW2 Scholarships

Through a generous gift from Dawn and Mark Ostroff, named scholarships are available for select CW2 students in their advanced year.

Declaration of Intent

There is no application for CW2, but students must submit their Declaration of Intent to complete the specialization. The Declaration of Intent indicates that students are actively pursuing completion of the specialization, and they will be added to the CW2 listserv and invited to specialization-only events and activities; it does not guarantee a seat in the required courses or a qualifying field placement. It is the student’s responsibility to register for and complete the requirements. If a student is not on track to complete the specialization requirements by graduation, their Declaration of Intent will be voided. There is no penalty for not completing the specialization after submitting the Declaration of Intent.

All students who complete the requirements by graduation will have the specialization noted on their transcript.

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