Title IV-E Education For Public Child Wefare

Traineeship Program

The Title IV-E Education for Public Child Welfare Program is a partnership between the University of Maryland School of Social Work and the Maryland Department of Human Resources to recruit and retain professional social workers as practitioners, supervisors, and administrators in Maryland’s public child welfare workforce. The Title IV-E Program offers a specialized MSW educational experience for current child welfare and prospective child welfare professionals seeking to achieve skill and knowledge competencies in Social Work practice in Child Welfare.

Students participate in faculty led multi-faceted internship programs in local Department of Social Services and work with families and children through

  • Child Protective Services,
  • Family Preservation,
  • Foster Care,
  • Kinship Care, and
  • Adoption Programs in public child welfare settings.

Coursework, workshops, and field internships integrate a family strengths approach with core child welfare values, knowledge, and skill competencies and promote the adoption of evidence based and best practices in the delivery of public child welfare services.

Contingent upon funding, financial educational stipends are available to current and prospective child welfare professionals in the Family and Children’s specialization who are interested in a career in the public sector.   Currently, financial stipends are in the amount of $4,000 per semester, or $8,000 per academic year, or about 75% of the cost of in-state tuition and fees at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.  Participants agree to participate in child welfare training events and coursework and to seek and accept employment in Maryland’s public child welfare programs located in Local Departments of Social Services upon graduation.  

For more information, contact the Title IV-E Program at 410-706-1396 or email Program Director, Debra Linsenmeyer at dlinsenmeyer@ssw.umaryland.edu.

Educational Strategies for Career Preparation in Child Welfare

Click titles for more information.
  • Standardized Client Interviews
    Title IV-E MSW students participate in standardized client interviews twice per academic year for training and assessment purposes.
    Standardardize client interviews are conducted in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Nursing, which operates a standardized patient/client laboratory on campus. Standardized patients/clients are individuals who are trained to present a patient or client scenario in the same way in every interview with students to ensure a standardized assessment. Standardized patients/clients are used extensively on the University of Maryland medical campus to train and evaluate students in the health professions.

    Title IV-E Students practice client engagement and motivational interviewing skills in the laboratory with a standardized client who has been trained as a child welfare client. The interviews are digitally taped and used for assessment and teaching purposes with students.
  • Motivational Interviewing Training
    Title IV-E students receive intensive training in Motivational Interviewing designed by the University of Maryland School of Social Work Lab Team, a team consisting of UM SSW faculty, field instructors, and PhD students.
    According to Miller & Rollnick, “Motivational interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” (Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S., (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change; 3rd ed., NY: The Guilford Press).

    In child welfare settings, motivational interviewing addresses behaviors and conditions that present risk of child maltreatment or barriers to safe and nurturing parenting and is used to engage clients in a process of change to increase children’s safety, permanency, and well-being.

    Title IV-E students are introduced to the theoretical underpinnings, spirit, and basic skills needed for successful motivational interviewing. In addition, they participate in an intensive 2-day “live supervision” training event (pdf) utilizing a standardized client in which they receive supervision, guidance, and feedback from the lab team. Students then have an opportunity to demonstrate their learning with a standardized client, and receive additional support from field instructors in using motivational interviewing skills during their child welfare internship in public child welfare settings.


For more information, contact:

Debra Linsenmeyer, LCSW-C, Clinical Instructor
Educational Director, Title IV-E Program
University of Maryland School of Social Work