We are recruiting BSW Social Work students to become child welfare scholars. Child welfare scholars will take one additional elective and focus their coursework on understanding childhood trauma during their time at Bemidji State University. During the final semester of students’ BSW, child welfare scholars will complete their internship at a county or tribal level child welfare program. Accepted scholars retain their status and stipend each semester until graduation, pending funding and acceptable academic and professional progress. After graduation, child welfare graduates are required to apply the skills, values and knowledge acquired from their education and experienced through employment in a child welfare setting.

Title IV-E of the Social Security Act focuses on providing safe and stable care for children who have been placed in out-of-home care as a result to maltreatment or other circumstances. This care lasts until the child can be safely returned home or placed permanently with an adoptive family or some other planned arrangement. The Title IV-E Child Welfare Scholars Program provides stipends to students who are interested in pursuing careers in public child welfare. To be eligible for the program, a Bemidji State student must be:

  • Interested in pursuing a career in public child welfare.
  • Willing to expand their educations in the field of child welfare.
  • Enrolled as a student at Bemidji State University
  • Accepted into the Social Work BSW program
  • In good academic standing (2.0 overall GPA, 2.5 Social Work GPA, C or higher in SOWK prefix courses)
  • A U.S. citizen

Application Deadlines

To apply click on the following link and complete form: IV-E-Application-Form

Please review the Child Welfare Rubric in order to see the criteria.

  • Fall Semester Deadline: October 31 at 8 a.m.
  • Spring Semester Deadline: March 31 at 8 a.m.

Newly admitted Child Welfare Scholars will receive Title IV-V Student Information Form and Memorandum of Understanding from Ashley Charwood, Director of the BSU Child Welfare Scholars Program and be required to mail them to 1500 Birchmont Dr NE, Box 35, Bemidji, MN 56601 within two weeks of receipt.

Child Welfare Stipend Requirements

If awarded a Child Welfare Stipend, Baccalaureate in Social Work (BSW) students are required to:

  • have an internship in a county, state or tribal child welfare unit;
  • complete SOWK 3970 Child & Family Welfare;
  • attend child welfare IV-E student meetings and training seminars;
  • maintain good academic standing (as defined by social work department policy); and
  • upon exit from the social work department seek and accept employment in public child welfare (if
    such a position is available and offered within three months of graduation) and maintain such
    employment for four and a half months for each semester of stipend received.)

If you are interested in learning more about the program click here to view brochure: Child Welfare Brochure.

See the story about Katie Northbird, a Child Welfare Scholarship recipient.

Child Welfare Foundation Training

Scholars complete Child Welfare Foundations Training (CWFT) during their semester of internship. The CWFT curriculum has been recently revamped. As a result, even if you completed CWFT as part of past or current employment, you will need to complete CWFT during your internship semester. Minnesota statute {Minn. Stat. 626.559, subd. 1a} requires that all newly hired child protection workers receive training provided through CWFT provided by The MN Child Welfare Training Academy.

CWFT provides a skill-intensive foundation curriculum that combines classroom as well as web-based training. Because BSW students will complete the entire CWFT while in their primary public or tribal child welfare field placement, this provides them with an advantage in their public and tribal child welfare job search. Additionally, the training enhances IV-E field experiences with the development of hands on skills, case consultations and field instructor/supervisor discussion guides.

MN Child Welfare Competencies

Training Dates

For information on CWFT, ICWA or other trainings, please contact Ashley Charwood or your Child Welfare D2L shell.


All coursework is available on-campus and to SWIM students.

  • BSW Classroom time: 58 credit hours (outside of internship/field)
  • SOWK 3780: Family & Child Welfare (spring semester only)
  • Foundation Field: SOWK 2140 Field Experience, 60 hours across one semester.
  • Internship/Field: SOWK 4970, 40 hours a week for 480 hours across one semester at a county or tribal nation.

Forms for Current Scholars

Instructions: Throughout each semester scholars will track their activities related to Child Welfare Scholars program in the Child Welfare Scholars Activities Log. At the end of each semester, students will send the completed log to Ashley.Charwood@bemidjistate.edu.

BSW Child Welfare Scholars Program Overview

To provide financial support and educational resource to BSW students committed to a post-graduate career in public or tribal child welfare. Primary elements of the Child Welfare Scholars program:

  1. Financial support
  2. Educational/Programmatic Expectations and Requirements
  3. Employment Obligation
  4. Career Development and Support
  5. Research and Evaluation

Financial Support

Students are eligible to receive $2,250 per semester in the fall and spring semesters for a total of $4,500 per academic year. Students are eligible to receive the stipend for the duration of their time in the social work program, provided they continue to study full-time.

During the first two weeks of each semester, Child Welfare Scholars will work with Ashley Charwood to complete the necessary paperwork. The stipend will be paid to students by the BSU Cashier’s Office in the form of a one-time stipend.

Educational/Programmatic Expectations and Requirements

  1. The Child Welfare Scholars (CWS) stipend is attached to a program. Specific programmatic requirements were developed to provide CWS with enhanced learning to prepare them for practice in a child welfare settings. Any student who receives the CWS stipend at any point in their BSW career is considered a “Child Welfare Scholar” and is therefore obligated to complete all of the programmatic requirements each year they are a student. The primary obligations for students include:
  2. Completion of specific BSW courses (detailed below)
  3. The IV-E Child Welfare program provides additional learning opportunities outside of required coursework in specialized child welfare education, training content and experience, such as conferences, presentations, workshops, community events and BSU events.
  4. Specialized Child Welfare Scholars advising with Ashley Charwood, Child Welfare Scholars Program Director, at least once a semester.
  5. Completion of required field placements:
    Students complete their internship in a county, state or tribal child welfare setting. These placements are identified in field materials or can be approved only in consultation with the Director of Field Education, Dr. Sue Rickers, and the Title IV-E Coordinator, Ashley Charwood. Title IV-E students need to have enough flexibility to be able to be considered a desirable candidate for county, tribal and related placements. We do not recommend IV-E student work full time and the stipend is intended to off-set living expenses during this time.
  6. Completion of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
  7. Completion of Child Welfare Foundation Training through the Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Welfare Training System (MNCWTS), such as Indian Child Welfare Training (ICWA) and MIFPA.

Employment Obligation

The Title IV-E Child Welfare stipend is not traditional financial aid. Rather, it is an employment repayment program. All graduates upon completion of the BSW programmatic requirements are obligated to search for, accept and remain employed in a public or tribal child welfare agency. The length of employment obligation is equal to the amount of time graduates were supported as students. One semester of educational funding is equivalent to 4.5 months of employment obligation. If a student receives the IV-E stipend for three semesters, they are obligated to an employment “payback” of 13.5 months. If a student receives the stipend for four semesters, they are obligated to an employment “payback” of 18 months.

It is the goal of CASCW to support students throughout their employment search and employment “payback” obligation and beyond. CASCW will provide supportive coaching throughout the job search process. All graduates must stay in contact with CASCW staff while completing their obligation. CASCW hopes to remain in contact with graduates beyond their obligation as a means of providing continuing education and career support.

Career Development and Support

CASCW provides conferences, publications and additional resources to support the child welfare workforce. Additionally, Child Welfare IV-E alumni have a relationship with CASCW as advisory board members, field instructors, evaluation collaborators, community partners, etc.

Research and Evaluation

Researchers at CASCW have developed a longitudinal evaluation framework which aims to determine the effectiveness of Title IV-E education (including BSW course work, field experiences, IV-E requirements and advising) on the preparation and retention of Minnesota social workers in public and tribal child welfare. CASCW will ask Title IV-E Fellows to partner with us in completing research and evaluation of the IV-E Program through a pre- and post-knowledge assessment, as well as post-graduate satisfaction and retention surveys.

Child Welfare Worker Position Description

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) partnered with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Minnesota Association for County Social Services Administrators (MACSSA) to develop this child welfare workers position description:

  • Interview children and families at intake
  • Carry a caseload where a need for continuing social casework predominates
  • Provide counseling to families and individuals
  • Conduct complex case evaluation for the purpose of assessing problems and determining appropriate types and methods of treatment
  • Prepare intensive long or short-term treatment plans, which require a fund of casework knowledge
  • Identify client situations, which require intensified service and brings to the attention of supervisor for help or referral
  • Provide adult and child protective services
  • Provide vocation/employment services
  • Provide adult and children’s mental health services and services to persons with disabilities
  • Provide or assists in providing services to other cases involving difficult or complex social and financial problems
  • Interpret programs to clients, refers clients to appropriate community services
  • Interpret social and emotional factors to others involved in treatment of clients
  • Prepare social histories with emphasis on psychosocial factors, adoption or foster home placements
  • Supervise foster home placements
  • Interview and screens prospective adoptive parents
  • Provide preventive services
  • Interpret policies and regulations to clients
  • Provide casework services for rehabilitation and care of children
  • Prepare and maintains case records which meet federal, state and local guidelines
  • Dictate findings and correspondence
  • Prepare regular and special reports
  • May provide work direction to social work paraprofessionals
  • Participate in in-service training and other staff development activities to increase knowledge of social work processes and skill in application to individual cases