Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL)

Program Description

The University of Pennsylvania is proud to be one of twelve accredited schools of social work in Pennsylvania that is part of the Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL) program, the goal of which is to “strengthen public child welfare services in Pennsylvania by providing educational opportunities at the graduate level for public child welfare personnel.” Over the years, Penn’s MSW program has graduated many outstanding child welfare leaders through the CWEL program and SP2 continues to strongly encourage applications from employees of Pennsylvania’s child welfare agencies.

Throughout the program, CWEL students receive support from fellow CWEL classmates and mentoring from SP2’s faculty who specialize in child welfare issues.

Course of Study

Penn accepts CWEL students for either full- or part-time study (dependent upon the approval of their employing agency). Once accepted into the program, students follow the standard course of study and work with their academic advisor to select electives. Penn offers a number of electives on child welfare, practice with children, child mental health, leadership, management, advocacy, policy, and other topics that are of particular interest to CWEL students.  Students follow either the full-time or part-time course of study.

Students may choose either the clinical or macro concentration in their advanced year of study.

CWEL students are required to complete both their foundation year and advanced year field placements in an agency focused on child welfare. Students may not use their normal employment to fulfill field placement hours, but they may choose to complete their field placement(s) at their employing agency in a role that is different from their normal employment. In addition, CWEL students are allowed to complete their foundation and advanced year placements at the same agency, provided they are doing different work each year and that it is work that is not their regular job. Penn’s Field Education office is able to assist students with securing a field placement at a child welfare agency if students are not able to arrange one on their own.

The name and contact information of the student’s field placement supervisor will need to be registered with the Field Office and CWEL will collect additional details about the placement, including:

  • Agency Type (e.g., Private vs. Non-profit)
  • Agency Name
  • Scope of Work (e.g., Recruiting resource parents, home studies, home inspections)
  • Program Description
  • Description of population served

Eligibility

CWEL applicants are reviewed under the admissions criteria set forth for all MSW program applicants. Applicants must also submit an application to CWEL and, as outlined on the CWEL program page through the University of Pittsburgh, must:

  • Be an employee of a Pennsylvania county child welfare agency;
  • Have the prerequisite academic degree from an accredited institution of higher education;
  • Be employed by the same agency for a minimum of two years;
  • Have satisfactory performance evaluations;

Be granted an educational leave by the employing agency for purpose of enrolling in the CWEL program (if applying for full-time study) or receive county agency approval for CWEL participation (if applying for part-time study).

Additional Information

Pennsylvania’s CWEL program is administered through the University of Pittsburgh. Additional information can be found on their website. Please note that the Online CWEL Application is required in addition to the SP2 application.