The Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training Program (CWTP) supports current child welfare employees in obtaining the Master of Social Work degree (part-time) while maintaining their child welfare employment.

The goal of the program is to strengthen the child welfare workforce and develop the current and future leaders in the field.

The part-time MSW Child Welfare Training Program accepts applicants annually, with a deadline of September 15.

Financial Assistance

  • Tuition and fees
  • Book allowance
  • Stipend during field placement (if applicable)

Application Requirements

  1. A current resume including work and volunteer experience that reflects your social work knowledge and skills.
  2. Transcripts from all programs attended, including any post-graduate courses (they can be unofficial).
  3. A personal statement including the following points:
    • What have you done to make the world a better place? Please consider any of the following areas in your response to this section: community engagement, professional experience, human/social service experience, volunteer experience, internships or social justice activity.
    • Describe one family or situation in your work that you experienced that changed or influenced the way you practice child welfare. When answering this question, ensure that you are respecting confidentiality.
    • Where do you see yourself in five or more years in terms of your career?
    • How will your MSW help you to achieve your professional goals?
    • Additional information, if applicable: If your GPA is below 3.0 or you do not feel that your academic record accurately reflects your ability, please explain. In addition, include what plans or safeguards have you or could you put in place to help you excel and meet the rigorous demands of graduate school?
  4. A recommendation letter from a supervisor or manager describing why you would be a strong candidate for the Title IV-E program. Letter should indicate in the body of the letter that management at your agency approves your application.


Who is eligible to participate?

All participants need to be current child welfare employees at the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS), Wellpoint Care Network, Children’s Community Services, or a partner county agency.

Prospective applicants must also:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Have a 2.75 undergraduate GPA, a 3.0 GPA in the last 30 credits or six graduate credits with a B or better. (Contact Johanna Barkei at for questions and assistance.)
  • Qualify for Wisconsin in-state tuition.
  • Preference given to applicants with at least one year of child welfare experience.
Am I eligible if I have already been admitted to the Master of Social Work (MSW) program or have taken some MSW classes?

Yes, though some restrictions apply.

Is the Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training Program application the same as the graduate school application?

The Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training Program application and admission process is separate from the UW-Milwaukee Graduate School application process. Students will need to apply to the graduate school upon acceptance into the program. Continuation in the program is dependent upon acceptance into the graduate school.

What kind of financial support do students receive?

Students will have support for all tuition and fees, a book stipend per semester, and may receive a monthly stipend during their field placement, if eligible.

How many students are accepted each year?

The number of students accepted each year is dependent upon the approved budget from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF).

How long does the program take?

The program typically takes 2.5 to 4.5 years depending on whether you qualify for advanced standing in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Students with a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) will likely qualify for advanced standing.

How many classes will I take each semester?

Students will take one class per semester except during their field placement where they will take a class and complete their field placement. Summer semesters contain two terms and a class is taken each term.

Where and when are classes held?

Classes will be offered in the evenings (and possibly on Saturdays). Most classes will be held on the UW-Milwaukee campus, but some classes will be offered online. Due to limited course offerings in the evening, there is not often flexibility around scheduling (i.e. day of the week and time).

Do I have to complete a field placement?

All students will be required to complete a three- to four-semester field placement. The option to include an employment-based placement will be discussed upon acceptance.

What is the student work commitment that must be fulfilled upon graduation?

Work obligations are one year post graduation.

What if I need to leave my agency or do not fulfill my obligation?

If a participant does not complete their work obligation, they will be required to pay back a pro-rated amount of the total support that they received. For example, if the program paid $10,000 and you completed 30% of your payback obligation time, you would owe $7,000.

Students are not typically able to complete their work payback at a different agency than their original sponsoring agency. If a student leaves the program prior to graduation, they will be required to either complete a work or monetary payback.