Are You Interested in Work in Public Child Welfare?

Students in the Title IV-E Program gain the skills, attitudes and experience to work with children and families who have experienced child abuse or neglect; provide support for families through Family Preservation; support children and families with foster care and adoption services and; respond to initial reports of child maltreatment through assessment or investigation.

What Does it Look Like to Work in Child Welfare?

Work in child welfare can be demanding as the job requires a lot of flexibility and commitment to the work. Clients who come to the attention of social service agencies have often experienced traumatic events and hardship in their lives that require a high level of understanding and compassion. Social Workers in Public Child Welfare work to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of their clients. Some responsibilities include: investigating reports of child maltreatment, evaluating the needs and strengths of families, teaming with families to make an adequate plan for safety, case planning, completing reports and progress notes, transporting clients, coordinating and supervising visits, collecting and filing paperwork, responsibility for keeping client records up to date, completing home visits and evaluations, attending and coordinating meetings, assuring services are being completed and are beneficial. In cases where there the court is involved the worker must complete all required court reports and documents as well as attend court hearings and testify on behalf of the case if needed.

Despite the challenges of this work, many workers enjoy the fast-paced work and find it very rewarding. Workers help clients to overcome challenges allowing them to see how someone’s life can be changed for the better. Workers often advocate for children and families while also empowering them and providing support. The work is never boring and there is always room for professional growth and development.


If you would like more information about Child Welfare, the following links might be helpful:

What is Child Abuse and Neglect: 

How the Child Welfare System Works: 

Motivational Interviewing: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals: 


Maryland’s Integrated Practice Model

The Integrated Practice Model builds on the agency’s foundational family-centered practice, older youth, and adult services practice frameworks. This model includes an understanding of how trauma impacts the families served by the agency. It clarifies expectations of workforce to provide evidence-based practices while promoting consistency in how staff engage, team, assess and intervene with families. The Integrated Practice Model provides opportunities for children, families, resource caregivers, and community partners to inform our efforts and puts Individuals’ and Families’ safety, permanency, and well-being at the center of child welfare and adult services.

The core components of the Maryland Integrated Practice Model include:

  • Values: Collaboration, Advocacy, Respect and Empowerment (CARE)
  • Practice Principles: Family-Centered, Outcomes-Driven, Individualized and Strengths-Based, Trained and Professional Workforce, Community-Focused, Trauma-Responsive, and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive
  • Core Practices: Engage, Team, Assess, Plan, Intervene, and Monitor and Adapt


Focus on Culture, Diversity and Racial Equity in Child Welfare Practice

Throughout their time in the Title IV-E Program, Title IV-E students are challenged to increase their self-awareness and personal biases in order to serve clients in a way that is fair, just, and equitable. Title IV-E students participate in training around diversity, equity and inclusion and spend time in field supervision and in monthly seminars applying this approach to work with their clients. Title IV-E students and faculty have a commitment to racial equity and are committed to learning and teaching the skills needed to address the disproportionality and disparity that continues to be an issue in child welfare practice.

Interact with Families Through a Trauma-Informed Approach

Learning to respond to child maltreatment requires skills and knowledge about how trauma impacts children and families. Whether it is the complex trauma of child abuse, intimate partner violence, separation from caregivers, or the multigenerational trauma that is experienced by different cultural or

racial groups, students will learn how these traumatic experiences shape client behaviors and how we, as professional social workers, can support resilience and healing.

Motivational Interviewing Training

In order to be equipped to have professional conversations with clients that help to build their own motivation for meaningful and lasting change, Title IV-E students learn and practice Motivational Interviewing. This training uses an innovative approach called “Live Supervision” where students are able to take their classroom knowledge and practice with live coaching and feedback. This encourages students to develop their clinical skills in a way that has been shown to be effective and that students have found to be very beneficial to their practice.

How to Apply

Your application starts when you complete your field placement application. Please select the option that asks “Are you interested in applying for the Title IV-E Education for Public Child Welfare Program.”

For more information, please contact Clinical Instructor/Training Coordinator, Jessica Gauthier, at

Ready to be a Changemaker?