Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project

A Project of the NAU Social Work Program

The BSW Child Welfare Training Project (CWTP) at NAU is a collaborative effort between the Northern Arizona University Social Work Program and the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS). The funds are provided by the Child Welfare Field Education and Student Support Project, a Title IV-E grant.  The NAU BSW Child Welfare Training Project is directed by Principal Investigator, Dr. Natalie Cawood and coordinated by Dr. Tiffany Ryan.

The goal of the project is to recruit and train bachelor's level social workers to be competent Child Protective Service Professionals. The mission is to prepare social work students to be effective and competent child welfare specialists who are able to promote the well-being of the children and families involved in the public child welfare system. Students involved in the project will receive tuition assistance while pursuing their degree in social work. In return, students commit to work for Arizona's DCS upon graduation.  The tuition assistance represents an investment in the DCS workforce and in the vulnerable families of Arizona. BSW students will receive payment of their in-state tuition and mandatory social work program fees for their junior and/or senior years in the NAU BSW program. In exchange, students contractually agree to work full-time in Arizona's DCS upon graduation. The work commitment is between one and two years, depending on the level of tuition assistance received.

The Child Welfare Training Project requires a separate application in addition to the Social Work Program application. Only those who submit an application for admittance to the NAU Social Work Program or those already accepted into the NAU Social Work Program are eligible to apply to the Child Welfare Training Project.

For more information contact Dr. Tiffany Ryan at tiffany.ryan@nau.edu or 928-523-2029.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be admitted into the NAU BSW Program and in good academic standing.
  • Must be willing and able to work full-time for Arizona's DCS upon graduation.   
  • Must meet the employment requirements for the DCS Specialist position, including fingerprint card clearance.
  • Must be able to certify that they are a United States citizen, resident alien or permanent resident.
  • Must possess evidence of a valid drivers' license, have reliable access to a vehicle, and be able to obtain a NAU parking permit for the internship placement on campus.
  • Applicants will be required to maintain the above clearances and a valid drivers' license to maintain their eligibility as a Title IV-E student and to be eligible for employment with DCS upon graduation.
  • Must complete the required SW 450 Child Welfare course, as a required elective, before Field Placement.
  • Must meet all Field Placement eligibility requirements of the NAU Social Work Program.

Selection Process:

The process proceeds as follows:

  1. Application, personal statement, resume, and school files are reviewed. 
  2. Initial interview will be conducted with CWTP's leadership staff.
  3. Select students are referred on to an interview with DCS.  These interviews are often with an interview panel, consisting of DCS Training Officers and Supervisors. 
  4. Notification letters are mailed to all applicants.

The Selection of Title IV-E students is primarily based on whether or not the committee and interview panel feel that the student would be a good fit as an employee at DCS and can complete the BSW Program in a timely manner.  Selection criteria include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Evidence of a desire to work in Child Welfare, specifically in Arizona's DCS; and of the desire to pursue child welfare as a career choice. 
  2. Evidence that the student understands the requirements of the work commitment and is willing and able to work in Arizona DCS for the contracted time upon graduation.
  3. Evidence that the student is able and willing to competently work with both children who have been abused and neglected and with their parents/guardians who have abused and neglected them.
  4. Evidence that the student can effectively communicate with and collaboratively work with team members. 
  5. Evidence that the student can have empathy for vulnerable and marginalized children and families. 
  6. Evidence that the student could work cross-culturally with diverse populations including people whose values may be different from the students' own. 
  7. Evidence that the student would not be personally overwhelmed by daily exposure to poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect.  
  8. Evidence of writing competency based on the scholarship personal statement essay and impromptu writing exercise administered during the interview.

Application Process:

First, all applicants must review the CPS Specialist job description and watch A Realistic Look at a Career in CPS Video.

Second, all applicants should complete the child welfare self-assessment.  This is not a part of the application, itself, and does not need to be submitted with the application, but it is a mechanism for applicants to measure their goodness of fit with a career in child welfare. An honest self-assessment may help you make an informed decision about whether this work is right for you.  Staff retention in child welfare directly affects outcomes for children and families.

Third, the application consists of the following items

  1. Completed application form
  2. Personal statement
  3. Current resume
  4. Copy of your degree plan developed with SBS Academic Services & Advising
  5. Copy of unofficial transcripts
  6. The four DCS forms
  7. Motor Vehicle Record
  8. Fingerprint clearance card materials  

Application Form

Personal Statement  

In two to three pages (typed, double spaced, one inch margins) write a personal statement which reflects:

  1. My interest and/or experience in child welfare.
  2. My understanding of the kinds of tasks I would be doing as a DCS worker.
  3. My strengths in pursuing a career with DCS. 
  4. Challenges I may face in pursuing a career with DCS.
  5. My understanding of the commitment to work for DCS upon graduation.
  6. Additional information I would like you to know about me that I believe is important in considering my application for this program.


A current copy of your resume (typed) which includes each of the following:

  1. Educational experience
  2. Employment & professional experience
  3. Volunteer experience

DCS Forms

Complete and include the following DCS Forms*: 

Fingerprint Clearance Card Materials

  • If you already have a valid, Level One fingerprint clearance card from the State of Arizona Department of Public Safety that was issued after 9/19/07, please make a copy of the front side of the card along with a copy (on the same page) of your social security card.  If your card was issued before 9/19/07, then you will need to apply for a new card (see below).  Please note that just being fingerprinted for previous employment or volunteer activities does not mean you have a Level One fingerprint card.  If you do not have a white plastic card, the size of a credit card, issued from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, you do NOT have a Level One fingerprint card. 
  • If you do not have a valid, Level One fingerprint card, you will need to apply for one. Please contact Natalie Cawood (Natalie.Cawood@nau.edu) to obtain the necessary forms and instructions for obtaining the card.  Once you have completed the application form, you will be eligible to apply for the Child Welfare Training Project (you will not have to wait until you actually receive the card). 

       *If considered as a finalist for participation in the project, you will need to complete a NAU Consent for Full Access to Education Records form.


Deadlines & Submission Instructions

Spring application deadline is October 1.

Fall application deadline has been extended to April 15.


Please submit all application materials in one complete packet to:

Julie Fritzler, MSW, LCSW
Child Welfare Training Project
IHD, Building 27A, Office 117


Child Welfare Training Project
Northern Arizona University
PO BOX 5630
Flagstaff, Arizona 86011 

BSW Logo

The NAU Child Welfare Training Project is a collaborative effort between the Northern Arizona University Social Work Program and the Arizona Department of Child Safety. The funds are provided by the Child Welfare Field Education and Student Support Project, a Title IV-E grant.