Skip to content

Child Welfare (Title IV-E) MSW Program
in Salt Lake City

The application for this program will open again on August 1, 2025 for the program beginning Fall 2026. 

Application Deadline: March 1, 2026

This program runs one cohort at a time, every three years. The next cohort will begin Fall 2026.






Credit Hours




1 Area of Focus

 Child Welfare in Social Work

About the Program

The College of Social Work, through an agreement with Utah’s Department of Human Services Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), utilizes federal Title IV-E funding to provide a three-year, 60 credit hour MSW program for current DCFS or Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) employees.

Prospective students employed by DCFS or JJS must gain the approval of their Region Director to receive Title IV-E stipend and tuition benefits. All students must sign and fulfill all terms of a contractual agreement with DCFS or JJS. Students who receive Title IV-E educational support make a commitment to continue their employment after completion of their degree, at least equal to the period for which financial assistance is granted.



The curriculum first prepares students for generalist practice and includes courses on clinical theory and practice, evidence-informed practice, professional ethics, human behavior and the social environment, diversity and self-reflexive practice, and social justice, human rights, and macro practice. Students practice all these areas in agency settings through field placement (also known as “practicum”).

Students in this program complete advanced studies in the Child Welfare in Social Work area of focus. The educational requirements are equal to the full-time two-year program. Course and fieldwork are completed in eight regular semesters.

View Full Course Checklist


Field hours are required during the second and third year of the program. They cannot be completed at the applicant’s place of employment. Due to the nature of needing evening practicum hours, agency options are limited.



The program begins during fall semester, which typically begins the third week of August. This program runs one cohort at a time and accepts applications once every three years. The next cohort will begin fall 2023, followed by fall 2026, etc.

Courses are held Thursday evenings, beginning at 5 pm.

Prospective students employed by DCFS must be employed for at least three years and have the written approval of their Region Director/Administration to receive Title IV-E stipend and tuition benefits. Prospective students employed by DJJS must be employed for at least one year and also have written approval of their administration to receive Title IV-E stipend and tuition benefits.

Title IV-E is a federally funded program that falls under the Social Security Act created in 1935 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Since 1935, there have been modifications to this act that changed the way social support, or welfare, is provided to families with dependent children. P.L. 96-272, created in 1980 and known as Title IV-E (Also called the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act), is administered through the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The purpose of this law is to provide funds to states for short- or long-term training of child welfare workers. Since the 1990s, states have used this funding source to provide financial support for current and potential child welfare workers to obtain social work degrees.

Title IV-E tuition assistance may be available to students who are interested in or currently working for the public child welfare and/or youth corrections agencies in Utah. These agencies have offices throughout Utah, and provide services to children and families who are experiencing disruption in their lives and who need outside assistance to reshape their living environments to be more positive. If you are interested in IV-E assistance, you should think about the following questions.

1. Am I interested in working with children and families who are living in difficult situations?
2. Can I commit work time to a public agency that deals with child welfare issues for an extended period of time?

If the answers to these questions are “yes,” then you may be a good fit. Tuition assistance is contingent upon the continuing availability of federal training funds provided to the University of Utah, through the Division of Child & Family Services, under Title IV-E legislation and regulations.


First, in terms of cost, the assistance will be directly paid to your tuition for six semesters, and will also make you eligible for a 50% tuition benefit/reduction (4 semester maximum). Differential tuition costs are not eligible to be covered by this program.

Second, in terms of your education, having a IV-E Tuition Assistance will allow you to participate in courses and workshops focused on child welfare issues in the College of Social Work. Accordingly, the IV-E programs maintain a large focus on improving your skills as a caseworker, supervisor/administrator, and leader within the child welfare system.

Third, in terms of a career, once you finish your degree, you will be better skilled at effectively serving vulnerable children and families in Utah while working for the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) or the Division of Juvenile Justice Services (DJJS). This program is not intended for those who may wish to become an individual service provider. This program aims to increase the skill and capacity of the child welfare workforce by supporting those who are committed to child welfare and intend to work for DCFS or DJJS for an agreed upon period up to three years after graduation. It is anticipated you will work a full calendar year for every academic year that you accept the IV-E Tuition Assistance.

MSW Program
• Erika Marks, LCSW – Child Welfare Project Coordinator, (801) 581-5217
• Jennifer Zenger – Project Administrator, (801) 581-8830
• Chad McDonald, PhD, LCSW – Title IV-E Project Director, (801) 581-6155

Division of Child and Family Services
• Chantel Harvey – DCFS Training Coordinator, (801) 368-5199


Last Updated: 2/17/23