Child Welfare in Social Work

The Child Welfare Concentration is a comprehensive trauma informed focus to the child welfare system, intended to provide instruction about an integrated system in which all involved agencies and entities recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress on children, caregivers, and others involved in the system. The curriculum is based on evidence-informed and evidence-based approaches and programs and address micro, mezzo, and macro levels.

The curricula address necessary systems level changes that can help improve communication and service delivery and ultimately reduce trauma for children. Child welfare agencies work with established systems of care including health, mental health, law enforcement, juvenile justice, courts, foster parent associations and others to ensure there is a comprehensive trauma informed continuum of care. This concentration offers a broad range of effective assessment and intervention strategies that are developmentally informed and culturally appropriate.


Graduates of this concentration are able to:

  • Understand and address the impact of trauma on children and families, the resulting changes in behavior, on a developmental continuum, and on key relationships.
  • Help children make alternative and new meaning of their trauma history on their current experiences.
  • Coordinate, collaborate and provide assistance/guidance to agencies in the system to: maximize child’s safety; maximize the child’s sense of safety (both physical and psychological); understand and deal with the concept of trauma triggers; understand and assist children in reducing the overwhelming emotions associated with trauma; utilize comprehensive assessments in order to assess the child’s traumatic experience; and use the assessment to guide services.
  • Assure strategic partnerships to: transform child serving systems to deal effectively with traumatized children; provide sustainability in approach and subsequent outcomes of trauma-informed systems; improve the awareness, knowledge, and skills of professionals dealing with trauma; raise public awareness about child trauma; influence public policy and funding for agencies in system dealing with trauma; and, evaluate assessment and intervention strategies and provide feedback for change if necessary.

Child Welfare in Social Work Concentration Program of Study Guide

Types of Child Welfare Practicum Placements: mental health programs serving abused/neglected children and their families, programs serving children in foster care, adoption services, and schools.

For more information, please contact:

Chad McDonald, LCSW
Chair, Child Welfare in Social Work Concentration
UT Title IV-E Principal Investigator
801-581-6155 SW 122

Last Updated: 9/4/18