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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Title IV-E BASW Program

Download and print a copy of the Title IV-E BASW Program FAQs.

Q: How did the financial aid program develop for Bachelor of Social Work (BASW) students specializing in public child welfare?
A:
In 1990, the deans and directors of California’s then-10 graduate schools of social work and the County Welfare Directors Association, with the help of the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and funding from the Ford Foundation, collaborated to create the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC). CalSWEC’s goal was to improve the education and training of social workers for the publicly supported social services.

In 1992, CalSWEC entered into a contract with the California Department of Social Services to develop the Title IV-E [of the Social Security Act] MSW program to prepare and provide financial aid for students and graduates for careers in public child welfare. This consortium has since grown to include 21 California schools of social work.

In 2003/2004 work began to develop a BASW program much the same as the MSW one. In fall 2004, the first cohort of this program began.

Q: What is the funding source for the stipend program?
A:
Financial support for the BASW students is provided through federal Title IV-E training funds managed by the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered through the California Department of Social Services.

Q: What is Title IV-E?
A:
Title IV-E of the Social Security Act authorized the Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs to provide federal matching funds to states for directly administering the programs. Its objectives were to improve the quality of care of children in foster care, reduce the number of children in foster care, return children to their homes as soon as conditions permit, and facilitate the adoption or permanent placement of children who cannot be returned to their homes.

Q: How much financial aid is provided?
A:
The Title IV-E stipends provides one year of support for full-time students who complete the BASW program with appropriate specialization in preparation for careers in public child welfare. Effective fall 2004, the stipend amount is $15,000 for the final year of study in the BASW program. Part-time students, limited to current employees of a county or the state Department of Social Services, receive tuition and fees, costs for required books, and a travel allowance for each day of class or fieldwork for either two or three years, depending on the program. (See your school’s Project Coordinator for details.)

Q: How many stipends are available?
A:
Each of the six Title IV-E BASW programs--California State University campuses at Chico, Fresno, Humboldt, Long Beach, San Bernardino, and San Diego--may award up to 30 student slots, which may be a combination of full- or part-time students.

Q: How do full-time students qualify for financial support in the Title IV-E BASW program?
A:
Undergraduate students must be enrolled full time at one of the six California State University campuses that offers a Title IV-E BASW program--Chico, Fresno, Humboldt, Long Beach, San Bernardino, or San Diego. Upon declaration of the major and satisfactory completion of all relevant coursework, the student may apply for admission to the Title IV-E BASW program. Current employees of county Departments of Social Services are given admission preference, but they must be on educational leave (i.e., not receiving pay from the agency during the academic year) to receive the full-time stipend. The employees may work during break periods and summers and may perform fieldwork in their agency subject to school policies. Stipend recipients must agree to participate in the complete child welfare specialization as defined by the school, have a valid driver’s license and secure use of a car as required for fieldwork, and undergo criminal and DMV pre-screening for county employment. They must also fulfill a work commitment upon graduation.

Q: How do part-time students qualify for financial aid in the Title IV-E BASW program?
A:
Undergraduate students must be enrolled part time at one of the six California State University campuses that offers a Title IV-E BASW program--Chico, Fresno, Humboldt, Long Beach, San Bernardino, or San Diego. Upon declaration of the major and satisfactory completion of all relevant coursework, the student may apply for admission to the Title IV-E BASW program. Admittance to part-time Title IV-E study is limited to current employees of county Departments of Social Services or public child welfare services agencies or the California Department of Social Services.

Applicants must have a letter of support from his or her agency director. Support recipients must agree to participate in the complete child welfare specialization as defined by the school, have a valid driver’s license and secure use of a car as required for fieldwork, and undergo criminal and DMV pre-screening for county employment. They must fulfill a one-year work commitment upon graduation. They also have the option of entering an MSW program and delaying their employment obligation until graduation from that program at which point, they will be required to complete the obligation of one year for the BASW and an additional two years.

Q: Which schools participate in the Title IV-E BASW program?
A:
California’s six schools of social work participating in the Title IV-E BASW program are California State University campuses at: Chico, Fresno, Humboldt, Long Beach, San Bernardino, and San Diego. CSU, Long Beach also coordinates distance education sites for other CSU campuses.

Q: How are students selected to receive the financial aid?
A:
Currently enrolled students may apply for the Title IV-E financial aid by completing application forms specific to the Title IV-E program. At each school an awards committee consisting of both faculty/ administration and agency representatives from county child welfare services makes award decisions. Priority is given to current county and state Department of Social Services employees and applicants who reflect the diverse client populations currently served by child welfare agencies in California.

Q: What academic requirements must students fulfill to receive the financial aid?
A:
Students must complete the entire BASW child welfare program at their school, including all designated fieldwork for BASW-level education. The total fieldwork requirement must be in a county child welfare agency serving Title IV-E children and families.

Q: What is the student’s work commitment after graduation from the BASW program?
A
: Upon graduation, full-or part-time students must work in a county child welfare services agency or California Department of Social Services child welfare division for one year.

A student who is currently employed in a county or the state Department of Social Services must return to that agency at a level appropriate to a new BASW in public child welfare. If a position meeting these requirements is not available in the agency to which service is owed, the student must apply for and accept an equivalent or higher position in a county child welfare service within a 75-mile radius of the student’s residence. If this is not available, the student must search for, apply for, and accept a BASW equivalent or higher position in any California county child welfare services agency or the California Department of Social Services. The student may also accept a child wellfare position in a tribal agency.

A student who is not a current employee must apply for and accept a position appropriate to a new BASW in a public child welfare agency within a 75-mile radius of the student’s residence. If no position is available within 75 miles, the student must search for, apply for, and accept a BASW-level position in any California county child welfare services agency or the California Department of Social Services.

Q: What options are available in working with Native American children and families to satisfy the work commitment?
A
: Native American and non-Native American graduates may complete their work commitment in the following settings as alternatives to California child welfare services:

  • a reservation or rancheria providing child welfare services in California,
  • an urban Indian agency in California serving Title IV-E eligible children and families, or
  • a reservation providing child welfare services in another state.

Q: What is the role of participating counties in the stipend program?
A:
Participating counties develop educational leave policies, publicize the program, agree to re-employ trainees as long as jobs are available, provide quality fieldwork with MSW supervision in accordance with school requirements, seek to schedule hiring procedures to fit graduate employment time restrictions, and seek to give hiring preference to graduates. County directors serve on the CalSWEC Board of Directors.

Q : How should interested persons obtain more information about applying for admission to a participating school?
A:
They should contact the school (California State University at Chico, Fresno, Humboldt, Long Beach, San Bernardino, or San Diego) they are interested in directly.

Q: How should interested persons obtain answers to other questions about the Title IV-E BASW stipend program?
A:
They should first contact the school in their area and the Title IV-E BASW Project at the school. If they are unsure of which school that is, they should contact:

California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC)
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley Social Welfare
2850 Telegraph Ave., Suite 215
Berkeley, CA 94705-1169
Phone: 510-642-9272
FAX: 510-642-8573

They can also visit the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program on CalSWEC's website.