FAQ, MSW, Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend
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SDSU School of Social Work

 

MSW Title IV-E Stipend Program

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What does the Fulltime, Plan A stipend entail?

A: Participants can receive up to two years of financial support at $18,500 per year,
renewable from semester to semester based on maintaining a 3.0 GPA. They agree to meet all IV-E MSW child welfare program requirements. They will sign an agreement, seek and be employed at a County or State Department of Social Services, Child Welfare Services (CWS) in California upon graduation as a protective services social worker. American Indians with tribal rights may fulfill their employment payback through alternative agencies serving IV-E eligible children, a reservation or rancheria based CWS or an urban American Indian agency. Participants will be required to render one calendar year of continuous and satisfactory full-time employment in an entry level child welfare worker position or above for each year of stipend/educational reimbursement support received. Employees who take a leave of absence from a county position must return to complete their payback in the county of origin.

Q: How many stipends are available each year?

A: There are up to 20 new and 20 continuing stipends available each academic year.

Q: Are there special conditions for employees of County Departments of Social Services who are admitted to the MSW program?

A: Yes. Participation of current Department of Social Services employees is strongly encouraged. Permanent employees will be given priority in the awards review process however; it is not a guarantee of an award. Employees will need to have written permission from their agency manager to participate in the program. They must agree to return to work in a public child welfare worker position upon graduation within the same county agency.

Employees have two options to participate in the program. Under Plan A they will receive the full stipend of $18,500 a year, which includes taking a leave of abscence for the academic semesters. Employees on leave can request to work during the winter and summer breaks. Employees should be aware that going on academic leave may affect their health insurance coverage. A second option open to employees is Plan B. Plan B employees may continue working at CWS and they will receive an educational reimbursement to cover the cost of regular tuition, books, mileage to class, and parking. It is possible to transfer from a Plan B plan to a Plan A plan if an employee decides to take a leave of absence in one or two of the internship years as long as approval is granted by the Project Coordinator and their manager.

Q: Can stipend recipients who are not employees of the Child Welfare Services work while participating in the program?

A: Yes, however this is not recommended. The stipend was designed in part to allow students to concentrate on their studies and their fieldwork without the distractions of having to hold an outside job. Students who do choose to work while participating in the program are encouraged to keep their hours to a minimum. Students cannot work in an agency that receives Title IV-E funds such as the county child welfare agency while a Title IV-E recipient.

Q: Can I drop out of the program after one year?

A: Yes. Participants should understand that there will be consequences regarding the repayment of the stipend. The funds received will be expected to be paid back in full, plus interest, if a student does not fulfill requirements of the program and their contract. Occasionally, a student is allowed a temporary Leave of Absence from the stipend program due to illness or personal issues.

Q: When will students receive the stipend/educational reimbursement payments?

A: Checks are mailed to recipient's mailing address by the SDSU Research Foundation. They are distributed four times per semester. Students can choose to have their tuition paid through a fee authorization waiver which would be divided by four and subtracted from their monthly stipend check or they can choose to pay tuition on their own outside of the stipend program. For Plan B educational reimbursement students, receipts for expenditures need to be submitted for reimbursement monthly. In order for a check to be issued, students must be in good standing with the program with evidence of meeting the requirements of the program. Checks will not be issued automatically. Stipends can be stopped at anytime during a semester if a student is not in compliance with program requirements.

Q: If a student is receiving financial aid, will the stipend affect his or her payments?

A: Yes. The stipend will be reported to the financial aid office, and accounted for in determining the total amount of assistance that the student receives. For further information contact the Financial Aid office at (619) 594-6323. Receiving the stipend does not preclude students from applying for other scholarships or loans.

Q: Is the stipend taxable?

A: The IRS considers the stipend to be taxable except for educational expenses; however the SDSU Research Foundation does not send a 1099 form to the students. The educational reimbursement in Plan B is not taxable. In order to determine what can be deductible in each student's individual situation, it is recommended that students consult with a qualified tax professional. The faculty and staff are not able to advise students on how to go about filing taxes.

Q: How will success of the program be measured?

A: Participants will take part in a survey of their level of competency in a variety of tasks which are related to public child welfare. The surveys will take place at the beginning, during, and at the completion of the program. Participants will also be followed for five years after graduation to see if they will remain employees in public child welfare. Thus, another important requirement is the student's responsibility of reporting any changes in their personal data to the Title IV-E office for up to five years post graduation.

Q: What types of field internships will be arranged?

A: Field internships are arranged by the SDSU School of Social Work, Field Education Placement Faculty. Title IV-E Students will complete two years of field placement like all other MSW students, which will be at the County Child Welfare Services; and others are in agencies that serve Title IV-E eligible children and families, unless the student is a fulltime employee of the Child Welfare Services/Department of Social Services Agency. Only county child welfare services employees working full time are allowed to complete 2 years of field internships in the agency of employment.

Q: What are the Title IV-E Child Welfare Workshops?

A: All Title IV-E students are required to attend additional workshops (a minimum of 2 per semester) which cover child welfare competencies not found in classes and field.

Q: Can students use paid employment at their job site as their field placement?

A: In the Title IV-E Program, only county social service employees who are IV-E participants may request that their job site be considered as field placement provided that a) the agency and the field instructor meet the criteria as outlined by the School and the IV-E program; b) the student must have permanent status and have been employed for a minimum of one year at the agency; c) clear delineation is established between job responsibilities and educationally focused field practicum experiences. Practicum experiences should be new and enhanced learning experiences and activities; d) the field instructor must be a person other than the job supervisor; e) the student has the availability of release time for course and field instruction; f) and the necessary additional paperwork is completed in a timely fashion. The student is advised to begin planning early with the IV-E field coordinator to accomplish this task.

Q: Are there additional requirements for IV-E students beyond what is expected from other MSW students?

A: Yes. Participation in the program requires a firm commitment from students to devote extra time to it. Requirements of the students include the field seminars and Title IV-E Workshops, close work with field instructors and field faculty and participation in competency rating surveys. In addition, students will complete a required curriculum designed to address child welfare issues. This will include a specialized elective course in advanced child welfare practice or interdisciplinary child welfare practice.

Q: Can IV-E students participate in the Pupil Personnel Credential, MPH/MSW, MSW/JD, or MHTP Stipend Programs?

A: No. The IV-E student has required electives in the program and is therefore, unable to elect other electives under the PPSC, MSW/MPH or MSW/JD programs.

Q: Can Advanced Standing MSW students be elibigle for Title IV-E support?

A: No.

Q: Should IV-E students take the comprehensive exams or do a thesis?

A: Although work on a thesis is encouraged, students are free to select either option. Thesis topics must be on some aspects of public child welfare. Students are advised to plan ahead on thesis research, determined before the end of the 2nd semester.

Q: Should students select the direct practice or the administrative practice concentration for their advanced year of the program?

A: Title IV-E Students may select either emphasis. Field internships will be available
for both, however, for those interested in administrative practice, you must request permission from the Title IV-E Project Coordinator to do this based on a justification of 5+ years of public child welfare practice experience.

Q: What happens if a program participant fails to graduate from the MSW program?

A: If a student is not performing satisfactorily in the program and does not maintain a
3.00 grade point average, the stipend/educational reimbursement will be suspended or terminated and the student must repay the amount total received plus interest. A student who does not satisfactorily complete his or her education in a normative period must repay the stipend/educational reimbursement plus any interest and collection costs. A student who cannot complete graduation requirements because of personal hardship or disability may request a postponement of one year from CalSWEC. Hardship postponements may be extended for one additional year. At the end of the postponement period the student must return and complete his or her education or repay the stipend/educational reimbursement. Waivers of repayment may be made in the case of permanent disability or death. Each IV-E student will sign a repayment plan agreement at the time they agree to receive the funding support. The repayment plan takes effect when requirements are not being met. The repayment plan terminates when the student notifies the school in writing that they have completed their required payback time.

  Stipend/Educational Reimbursement Recipients' Obligation after Graduation

Q: Are IV-E graduates guaranteed a job at San Diego or Imperial Valley County Health and Human Services or any other CWS?

A: No. The contract does not guarantee that all IV-E participants will be offered a job at the San Diego County , Health and Human Services nor any other CWS in California . Budget constraints or other unforeseeable circumstances may affect the availability of jobs. In addition, the final decision as to who to hire will be left up to the Human Resources department of the hiring organization. However, the School of Social work will be working closely with San Diego and Imperial counties to insure that all IV-E graduates receive the best possible preparation for the job, as well as information about application procedures.

Q: What happens if the graduate is unable to get a job at their preferred CSW upon graduation?

A: If a graduate has not obtained an offer of employment within 6 months of graduation he or she will be required to apply to all public child welfare agencies in counties that are within 75 miles of their home. For most San Diego students this will include Riverside and Orange counties. If the graduate is still unable to secure an offer of employment in public child welfare within a 75 mile radius he or she is required to apply to all counties in the state of California and to the State Department of Social Services and take the first job offered. It is the student's responsibility to communicate with the IV-E program faculty and staff regarding the difficulties in meeting their requirements.

Q: How soon after graduation do participants need to begin work?

A: The program requires the student to gain employment within 6 months of graduation. Any exceptions to this policy will need to be approved by CalSWEC. A waiver of up to one-year delay can be requested due to disability or hardship.

Q: Can the work requirement be postponed in order to enable an MSW graduate to pursue doctoral study?

A: No. Receiving the stipend/educational reimbursement obligates the recipient to work in the field of public child welfare immediately after obtaining the MSW degree.

Q: Will students receive assistance from the school in obtaining a job?

A: Yes. The Project Coordinator will be available to assist students with completing applications and preparing for job interviews. In addition, students will be apprised of the availability of jobs, application deadlines, and other relevant information. The student may also receive job notices from other counties if they agree to allow the school to release their names/addresses to the statewide network for jobs through CalSWEC. The ultimate job search responsibility lies with the student.

Q: What happens if a graduate does not remain employed for the required amount of time?

A: A graduate who terminates employment before the required amount of time is completed must repay the prorated remainder of the stipend/educational reimbursement amounts received. If there are extenuating circumstances, the graduate may request a hardship postponement period of one year. The decision as to whether or not to grant the postponement will be made by CalSWEC. After the hardship postponement period the graduate must return and complete his or her work requirement or repay the stipend/educational reimbursement. The student's responsibility is to remain in contact through writing with the IV-E program to prevent any collection for default of agreement.

Q: Are there agencies in San Diego or Imperial County other than the Children's Services that are considered to be public child welfare agencies?

A: No (except for American Indians). According to the program definitions established by CalSWEC, only the Childrens Services in San Diego County HHSA and Imperial County Department of Social Services are designated as to be a public child welfare agency at this time in these areas. The Probation Department is not part of this designation.

Q: Can IV-E graduates fulfill their work requirements through public child welfare jobs in counties other than San Diego or Imperial Counties?

A: Yes, although the priority is to increase the number of MSWs in San Diego and
Imperial counties. Work requirements may also be fulfilled with the State of California , Department of Social Services, Child Welfare Division or as described in the first answer, if American Indian with tribal rights, an MSW has other options.

 

 

last updated: 9/26/08  

 

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SDSU School of Social Work, Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Stipend Program Office
ph: (619) 594-8709, fax: (619) 594-5991
San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, CA 92182-4119

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