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CalSWEC Program/Stipend Programs


cdinh007
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I was wondering if anyone here is considering to apply for the school's CalSWEC Program or has experienced/is familiar with the program? It seems like many cal state schools offer this stipend to a select number of students. According to the application, "full-time students receive educational stipends of $18,500 and specialized training in public child welfare in exchange for committing to work in a California public child welfare agency or at the Department of Children and Family Services upon graduation."

Upon graduation, is it a continue job we still get pay or we're paying back the $18,500 as we voluntarily work for the next two years?

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I was wondering if anyone here is considering to apply for the school's CalSWEC Program or has experienced/is familiar with the program? It seems like many cal state schools offer this stipend to a select number of students. According to the application, "full-time students receive educational stipends of $18,500 and specialized training in public child welfare in exchange for committing to work in a California public child welfare agency or at the Department of Children and Family Services upon graduation."

Upon graduation, is it a continue job we still get pay or we're paying back the $18,500 as we voluntarily work for the next two years?

I am currently in the process of applying to this program at CSU Stanislaus and previously interviewed at UC Berkeley.

After you graduate, you are required to find work with a public child welfare office in California for two years in order to "pay back" the stipend. It seems as though schools have different requirements about whether you have to find work at an agency in the surrounding area or if you can search anywhere in the state of California, but I might be mistaken about that. It would be a paid job, not a two-year voluntary position. Also, if you document your job hunt and cannot find work at a public agency within a certain amount of time, they will permit you to apply with non-profit agencies that serve Title IV-E clients. What school are you looking at?

If there is anyone on this forum already in a program, do you know anything about how this stipend is treated for public assistance? I was planning to apply for food stamps and Medi-Cal to help get me through school (I have a small child), but the stipend plus child support would put me over the income limit if they treat it as wages. I am starting to wonder if it is worth pursuing since the school has already given me a tuition grant and subsidized loans.

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I was wondering if anyone here is considering to apply for the school's CalSWEC Program or has experienced/is familiar with the program? It seems like many cal state schools offer this stipend to a select number of students. According to the application, "full-time students receive educational stipends of $18,500 and specialized training in public child welfare in exchange for committing to work in a California public child welfare agency or at the Department of Children and Family Services upon graduation."

Upon graduation, is it a continue job we still get pay or we're paying back the $18,500 as we voluntarily work for the next two years?

You definitely do not work for free for two years after graduation! It's a "pay back" of your time. From browsing job forums, I have seen postings in Los Angeles for social workers who have completed the stipend training program with salaries of ~50k. The purpose of the stipend is to train child welfare workers. In taking the stipend, you have specific field placements, and additional coursework/classes. Before applying/accepting the stipend, I suggest looking at all of the reasons you may have to pay it back (e.g. not finishing your MSW in two years, getting below a 3.0, leaving your job before the "pay back" period is over) just to be sure you are ready for the commitment.

Another program you can look into is the IUC program. It's for the six social welfare schools in Los Angeles (UCLA, USC, CSUN, CSULB, CSUDH, CSULA) and it is one year instead of two years working in child welfare after graduation and the stipend is $18,500 for just one year instead of two. I am applying to both the CalSWEC and IUC programs at UCLA right now. If I don't get either, I am going to look into the CalSWEC Mental Health stipend. You can only apply for your second year. You get $18,500 and must commit to work at an agency with the Department of Mental Health for a year after graduation. Look into that too if you are interested! Good luck deciding :]

Edited by waitingwaitingwaiting
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Thanks. Where is the forum to "postings in Los Angeles for social workers"? Is it possible to link me the website and do you know how the oral interview would be like?

Does anyone know?

You definitely do not work for free for two years after graduation! It's a "pay back" of your time. From browsing job forums, I have seen postings in Los Angeles for social workers who have completed the stipend training program with salaries of ~50k. The purpose of the stipend is to train child welfare workers. In taking the stipend, you have specific field placements, and additional coursework/classes. Before applying/accepting the stipend, I suggest looking at all of the reasons you may have to pay it back (e.g. not finishing your MSW in two years, getting below a 3.0, leaving your job before the "pay back" period is over) just to be sure you are ready for the commitment.

Another program you can look into is the IUC program. It's for the six social welfare schools in Los Angeles (UCLA, USC, CSUN, CSULB, CSUDH, CSULA) and it is one year instead of two years working in child welfare after graduation and the stipend is $18,500 for just one year instead of two. I am applying to both the CalSWEC and IUC programs at UCLA right now. If I don't get either, I am going to look into the CalSWEC Mental Health stipend. You can only apply for your second year. You get $18,500 and must commit to work at an agency with the Department of Mental Health for a year after graduation. Look into that too if you are interested! Good luck deciding :]

Edited by cdinh007
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Thanks. Where is the forum to "postings in Los Angeles for social workers"? Is it possible to link me the website and do you know how the oral interview would be like?

Does anyone know?

It's actually not a forum, but on the LA County Job Listings. I found it from browsing DMH and DCFS jobs. Here is the one I found for child welfare workers: https://sjobs.brassring.com/11033/asp/tg/cim_jobdetail.asp?jobId=56963&PartnerId=25082&SiteId=5041&type=mail&JobReqLang=143&recordstart=1&JobSiteId=5041&JobSiteInfo=56963_5041&gqid=96

There does only seem to be a handful of listings, though. I don't know how many stipends are given at each school, but hopefully not everyone who gets it wants to work in LA! I plan to.

As for the oral interview, I interviewed at Berkeley for the stipend, and they asked questions that were similar to personal statement questions like "what experiences led you to pursue a career in social work/child welfare?" A friend of mine interviewed at SDSU, and she said that it was like a job interview. My interview is in a week. Hopefully I do better than I did at Berkeley!

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Hello everyone,

I am currently a CalSWEC Public Child Welfare recipient at UCLA heading into my second year of study. You guys have the basic idea of how the stipend works - that in return for two years of academic funding, you agree to provide your services to an child welfare agency for two years after graduation. I can provide some additional information based upon what I've been told at UCLA and going through some of the processes personally. From what I've been told, most people who receive CalSWEC funds in the Los Angeles area end up working for DCFS. The Dept. is currently extremely understaffed in terms of ER (emergency response) workers so most individuals will likely be slotted into that position when they go to work at the Dept. The responsibilities of this position involve going out to investigate claims of child abuse. When someone alleges a case of child abuse, they will usually send out an ER worker to investigate if the allegation sounds credible. At UCLA (and maybe at other schools as well), we are required to intern at DCFS during our second year of school too, so ultimately we will have worked for DCFS in some capacity for 3 years before we are free of our commitments. However, I know that there are students who are choosing to move out of the area and I believe that they have more flexibility in applying for non-profit type jobs. Just know that there ARE PLENTY of jobs of available in LA County DCFS. The turnover is unbelievable.

In terms of your concerns about having to pay back the stipend, the most likely reason would be early drop out from the work commitment. From my experience at UCLA, it is extremely difficult for you to get anything lower than a B and I have found the academic portion of the program to not be very challenging. Additionally, if you are able to act professionally at your field placement, you should be fine and be able to avoid getting held back due to failure to meet the field placement requirement. I have heard of multiple students who have had to repeat their placements, but I also thought that they were not very professional, and clearly their supervisors did as well. If you are able to make it through the 2 years of school, then comes DCFS. The work there is tough from what everyone has told me, and there are many problems with how the system operates. I think of this as a challenge for me to tackle, but I could understand why many people are easily frustrated by it. I would say that the best thing to do is just take a good look at your self and think about how much you can tolerate emotionally draining scenarios and sometimes having little power to change them. If you think you can tolerate them, or even LEARN to tolerate them, I say you should definitely go for it.

The number of CalSWEC awards are comparable in number at the different schools, so it is important to understand that your chances of receiving an award is greater if you apply to a school with a smaller number in its cohort. Last year, I was accepted into both UCLA and USC. I received the CalSWEC award for UCLA but didn't even get an interview for USC, even tho I got accepted for the Dean's Scholarship. A big reason may have been that UCLA accepted under 100 students while USC accepted over 500. If there are only 12 - 15 awards at each school, you can figure out what your chances look like at USC. Also, CalSWEC awards are given preferentially to those individuals already working for DCFS. The interview process is similar to a job interview, so if you google some questions that they commonly give you at job interviews, you should be fine. Best of luck to everyone!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone,

I am currently a CalSWEC Public Child Welfare recipient at UCLA heading into my second year of study. You guys have the basic idea of how the stipend works - that in return for two years of academic funding, you agree to provide your services to an child welfare agency for two years after graduation. I can provide some additional information based upon what I've been told at UCLA and going through some of the processes personally. From what I've been told, most people who receive CalSWEC funds in the Los Angeles area end up working for DCFS. The Dept. is currently extremely understaffed in terms of ER (emergency response) workers so most individuals will likely be slotted into that position when they go to work at the Dept. The responsibilities of this position involve going out to investigate claims of child abuse. When someone alleges a case of child abuse, they will usually send out an ER worker to investigate if the allegation sounds credible. At UCLA (and maybe at other schools as well), we are required to intern at DCFS during our second year of school too, so ultimately we will have worked for DCFS in some capacity for 3 years before we are free of our commitments. However, I know that there are students who are choosing to move out of the area and I believe that they have more flexibility in applying for non-profit type jobs. Just know that there ARE PLENTY of jobs of available in LA County DCFS. The turnover is unbelievable.

In terms of your concerns about having to pay back the stipend, the most likely reason would be early drop out from the work commitment. From my experience at UCLA, it is extremely difficult for you to get anything lower than a B and I have found the academic portion of the program to not be very challenging. Additionally, if you are able to act professionally at your field placement, you should be fine and be able to avoid getting held back due to failure to meet the field placement requirement. I have heard of multiple students who have had to repeat their placements, but I also thought that they were not very professional, and clearly their supervisors did as well. If you are able to make it through the 2 years of school, then comes DCFS. The work there is tough from what everyone has told me, and there are many problems with how the system operates. I think of this as a challenge for me to tackle, but I could understand why many people are easily frustrated by it. I would say that the best thing to do is just take a good look at your self and think about how much you can tolerate emotionally draining scenarios and sometimes having little power to change them. If you think you can tolerate them, or even LEARN to tolerate them, I say you should definitely go for it.

The number of CalSWEC awards are comparable in number at the different schools, so it is important to understand that your chances of receiving an award is greater if you apply to a school with a smaller number in its cohort. Last year, I was accepted into both UCLA and USC. I received the CalSWEC award for UCLA but didn't even get an interview for USC, even tho I got accepted for the Dean's Scholarship. A big reason may have been that UCLA accepted under 100 students while USC accepted over 500. If there are only 12 - 15 awards at each school, you can figure out what your chances look like at USC. Also, CalSWEC awards are given preferentially to those individuals already working for DCFS. The interview process is similar to a job interview, so if you google some questions that they commonly give you at job interviews, you should be fine. Best of luck to everyone!

Thanks for the information! I wish I read this before the interview, but that's ok :]

I am concerned to hear that you do not find the program academically challenging. Hopefully the challenge of the placements make up for it? I saw that some of the electives you could take were at the law school. I would guess that those courses would be more difficult, but who knows. Ah well, I am still excited to go back to school. Maybe I will see you this Fall!

Has anyone heard from UCLA whether or not they have been awarded a stipend? I had my interview at the beginning of June and I am still waiting to hear.

They called me this week! I was awarded the CalSWEC stipend (which is what I preferred)! I am so happy. A friend of mine was awarded one as well, but she decided not to accept it. Perhaps if there is some sort of wait list, you have a chance of getting one even if you have yet to be contacted. Good luck!

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I am curious as to what folks wrote for the Calswec essay. Is it required that we say we want to continue service in DCFS for our future goals? Thanks!

 

I wrote about why want to obtain a MSW, becoming a CWW, and eventually a supervisor. I think it's important to state that you want to continue service in DCFS since that is the requirement. I also wrote that I wanted to pursue licensure as a LCSW and why.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone have any ideas on what the interview is like?

I think its different for every school, but it's similiar to a CWW job interview. They might give you scenarios and ask you child welfare questions like... why do you want to be a CWW?

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I think its different for every school, but it's similiar to a CWW job interview. They might give you scenarios and ask you child welfare questions like... why do you want to be a CWW?

Thanks for responding!

 

Do you know what kind of scenarios are asked? I have never actually worked as a CW

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Thanks for responding!

 

Do you know what kind of scenarios are asked? I have never actually worked as a CW

No, I'm not sure what type of scenerios... but it probably would help to become a little familiar with the CPS process and what would you do if you had to remove a child from their home or something?

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Thanks for the information! I wish I read this before the interview, but that's ok :]

I am concerned to hear that you do not find the program academically challenging. Hopefully the challenge of the placements make up for it? I saw that some of the electives you could take were at the law school. I would guess that those courses would be more difficult, but who knows. Ah well, I am still excited to go back to school. Maybe I will see you this Fall!

They called me this week! I was awarded the CalSWEC stipend (which is what I preferred)! I am so happy. A friend of mine was awarded one as well, but she decided not to accept it. Perhaps if there is some sort of wait list, you have a chance of getting one even if you have yet to be contacted. Good luck!

Hello!

 

Would you happen to have any info on what the interview questions are like for the stipend program?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was a previous BSW stipend, but the same questions were similar to the IUC interns, be prepared to answer case vignettes, scenarios, and assessing safety of children in the home. 

Anyone have any ideas on what the interview is like? 

Edited by darkhairpinklips
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