Title IV-E Child Welfare
Education and Training Program

We are currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 academic year.  As a reminder you MUST be accepted into GSU and the School of Social Work before your application can be reviewed.

Application Deadlines: SSW IV-E
Priority Deadline Feb 1 March 1
Regular Deadline April 1 May 1


What is the Title IV-E Child Welfare Education and Training Program?

The Title IV-E Child Welfare Education and Training Program is a competitive stipend program. There are limited spots and not all students that apply will be accepted. It is a rigorous selection process; therefore, applicants want to be sure they are submitting complete, high quality applications to be considered.

The intent of the program is to support public child welfare education and training to build and retain a competent, stable workforce to enhance the delivery of public child welfare services to families and children in foster care and/or going through adoption. The field of child welfare is not for everyone. Please be sure to explore resources related to the profession to help determine whether you are a good fit before you formally apply.

The Georgia State University, School of Social Work partners with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in various counties across the state. Students obtain their BSW and/or MSW degree here in the School of Social Work and complete their field education component working in direct public child welfare practice at a designated DFCS office.

All Title IV-E students are contractually obligated to work for DFCS one year for every academic year of Title IV-E Funding. Current DFCS employees/S.E.E.D. applicants are required to remain at DFCS for one additional year of employment for every academic year of Title IV-E funding.

Program Faculty and Staff

Program Director/Principal Investigator
GSU School Program
Robin M. Hartinger-Saunders, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

University/DFCS Liaison
Ms. Debra Klausner, LCSW

Administrative Specialist, Admin.

Business Manager
Ms. Selena Heyward

Contact Information

Title IV-E Administrative Specialist

For more general information on the program e-mail: socialworkIVE@gsu.edu

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What is Title IV-E funding?

Title IV-E funding is the major source of funding from the federal government that is earmarked for the education and training of the child welfare workforce across the United States. The Title IV-E Child Welfare Education and Training Programs were first initiated in 1980 with the passing of the Child Welfare and Adoption Assistance Act (P.L. 96-272). The Title IV-E funding provides financial support to (1) current public child welfare staff wanting to return to school to acquire an advanced degree (usually an MSW) to improve their child welfare practice and, (2) students admitted into BSW or MSW programs who are seeking a long-term career in the field of child welfare.

GSU Title IV-E Mission

The Georgia State University (GSU), School of Social Work (SSW) Title IV-E Program, in partnership with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), is committed to the development of a stable, competent and professional, child welfare workforce to better serve and strengthen families and to improve child well-being.

GSU Title IV-E Program Objectives

1. To increase the number of current public child welfare employees with BSW and MSW degrees from colleges and universities in the state of Georgia.

2. To prepare BSW and MSW graduates with the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for employment in the state’s child welfare system.

3. To increase the number of BSW and MSW job ready graduates who seek and obtain employment in DFCS child welfare positions.

4. To improve retention rates of BSW and MSW IV-E students and graduates employed with DFCS.

What does the Title IV-E program reimburse?

Tuition and Fees-Title IV-E students are eligible to receive their fall and spring tuition paid for in full for each semester they are enrolled in the program.  Summer tuition will be based on availability of funding.

Monthly Living Expense Stipends-Students will receive a monthly stipend to assist with books, mileage and other living expenses each semester in which they are enrolled in the program.

Travel- Students are eligible to apply for travel funds to attend and participate in a child welfare related conference of their choice. For students to attend additional conferences, they will need to either volunteer or submit an abstract for a student presentation (or jointly with a professor).

Program Requirements

Required Courses

All Title IV-E students are required to successfully complete the following elective courses with a "B" or better:

  1. SW 4490/8490  Child Welfare Practice, Policy and Research (Offered in Fall)
  2. SW 4450/8450  Child Maltreatment Practice, Policy and Research (Offered in Spring)

*Note: Students must remain in good standing in the SSW to remain in the Title IV-E Program.

Field Placements

Title IV-E students are required to follow all GSU SSW program and field education policies and procedures as set forth in SSW Student Handbook and Field Manual, which can be found at http://socialwork.gsu.edu/field-education/field-manual-policies-procedures/.

Non-DFCS Students:

Title IV-E students who are not currently employed by the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in a social services position are required to complete their field placement at DFCS. This practicum is to be “in a DFCS office working in direct child welfare service provision.”

  • BSW students complete their field placement at DFCS in their senior year.
  • Priority is given to DFCS/S.E.E.D. applicants in the MSW program. Non-DFCS MSW students will only be considered based on availability of spots after priority consideration to DFCS/S.E.E.D. applicants.
    • MSW students complete their first year placement at DFCS and their second year community partnership field placement in a child welfare related agency.
    • MSW Part-time students would complete their first placement (in year 2) at DFCS and their second community partnership field placement (in year 3) in a child welfare related agency.
  • Incoming advanced standing MSW students are ineligible for the program unless they have successfully completed their BSW field placement at DFCS.

DFCS/S.E.E.D. Students

  • MSW Part-time students would complete their first placement (in year 2) at DFCS and their second community partnership field placement (in year 3) in a child welfare related agency.
  • Title IV-E students who are current DFCS employees with three years of experience with DFCS as a Social Services Protect and Placement Specialist (SSPPS) or higher may be approved for an administrative placement within DFCS or in an agency serving IV-E eligible children. However, the placement must fulfill all requirements of first and second year placements as outlined by the SSW.

Applying for Field

All students in the Title IV-E program are required to submit their Field Education Applications online at https://aysps.wufoo.com/forms/school-of-social-work-field-application/ by the due date specified by the GSU SSW Field Office. Title IV-E student MUST indicate that they are Title IVE students on their application so that a DFCS placement can be arranged.

Additional DFCS Required Activities

In addition to the School of Social Work field placement requirements, all Title IV-E students must also complete the following within one year of graduation:

  • Online KEYS Training.
  • Activities in the Training and Field Practice Guide.

DFCS Employment Obligations

All Title IV-E students are required to give one year of service for every academic year of Title IV-E Funding. DFCS employees are required to remain in DFCS for one year of additional service for every academic year of Title IV-E funding.

Employment Searches

Students are required to seek and obtain employment at a DFCS office following graduation. They must be ready for employment 30 Days after graduation and officially hired in a DFCS office within 60 days following graduation.

*Three months prior to graduation: Non-DFCS students and students employed by DFCS in non-child welfare positions are required to submit the names of their 5 preferred DFCS counties for employment. Attempts will be made to match students with existing vacancies in their preferred counties. However, as indicated in the Student Agreement, if no vacancies are identified in preferred counties within 30 days of graduation, students will be placed in counties with the greatest need (anywhere in the state of Georgia). Students who refuse to accept available employment (i.e. they do not like the location) violates the Student Agreement and renders the student liable for the full amount of funds received through out the program.

Title IV-E Funding Payback

All students accepted into the Title IV-E program must successfully complete the program (including the completion of their employment obligation to DFCS following graduation) or they are required to payback all monies drawn from the program as specified in their Student Agreement. Examples include:

  • Early withdrawal from the program.
  • Early termination from the program due to academic or non-academic reasons.
  • Failure to successfully complete required coursework.
  • Failure to successfully complete required DFCS Field Practice training and activities (See field practice guide).
  • Failure to secure employment with Georgia DFCS as a result of lack of effort on the part of the grant recipient.
  • Failure to accept available employment opportunities upon graduation.

Criminal Record Clearances & Drug Screening

In order to ensure students will meet hiring requirements of DFCS once they graduate, all students accepted into the Title IV-E program must agree to participate and successfully complete the following clearances upon entry into the Title IV-E program and again upon DFCS employment:

  • DFCS Criminal Background Check
  • Fingerprinting (Live-scan)
  • Drug Screening

Previous DFCS Social Services Involvement

Students are required to disclose any previous history with DFCS Social Services (see Student Agreement). If students have a previous history with DFCS that is deemed to disqualify them from DFCS employment, they will be ineligible for the Title IV-E program and required to payback any funds expended in accordance with the program.

Release(s) of Information

Since the Title IV-E program is a collaborative partnership between the GSU School of Social Work and GA-DFCS, all students participating in the Title IV-E program must agree to sign releases of information for GSU and DFCS to communicate as necessary. Necessary communication may include (but is not limited to) discussing personal and professional issues that are impeding a student’s performance in the educational setting and/or DFCS workplace or issues surrounding professional ethics and conduct.

How do I apply?

Application Process:

1. Complete the formal DFCS Title IV-E Application by the due dates (see above):

Applicants must complete the formal DFCS application on-line at: https://www.gadfcs.org/grant/cwg.jsp

Be sure to read the application instructions carefully.

*Note: incomplete DFCS applications will not be considered.

2. Complete GSU Pre-Screening Application

Once the formal DFCS application is reviewed, applicants will be e-mailed a link to the on-line, Title IV-E Pre-screening Application. All GSU applicants must complete the Pre-Screen Application to be further considered.

All applicants will need to upload the following documents to the pre-screen application:

  1. A formal cover letter outlining why they are interested in the program and how they are a good fit for public child welfare. Current DFCS employees (S.E.E.D. Applicants) should indicate how they think the program will enhance their  current practice.
  2. A current resume.

*Note: incomplete Pre-screen Applications will not be considered.

3. Complete a Formal Interview:

The top applicants will be invited to an in-person interview with GSU Faculty and staff and DFCS Training Specialists and staff. Students will be required to complete an on-site writing sample and an “In-box Scenario” as part of the interview process.

4. Attend Mandatory Orientation:

If selected, Title IV-E grant recipients are required to attend mandatory orientation to:

  1. Review the policies and procedures related to the program
  2. Sign the Student Agreement (the contract between the student and DFCS)
  3. Be LiveScan Fingerprinted.
  4. Complete all releases of information

**If you are unsure whether you are suited for a long-term career in child welfare, please make an appointment with the program director to discuss whether public child welfare is a fit for you.