child welfare


The Child Welfare Certificate is a specialty certification available to BSW and MSW students pursuing a career working in child welfare. Certificate holders possess a solid knowledge foundation and skill development in practice, policy, and program interventions that impact children and families.

Kshema Murari

“The professors were phenomenal, and extremely knowledgeable. They not only taught from the curriculum and books, but from real-life experiences working in child welfare. My field internship set the stage for my career – and I knew this was the field of social work that I wanted to work in…”
– Kshema Murari

Vanessa Graham-McFarlane

“[Through my coursework in the child welfare certificate program at FAU], I had the chance to attend a Preliminary Protective Custody Hearing and had the opportunity to meet a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for the State of Florida who then invited me to attend a closed TPR Hearing. Due to my interaction, I became a GAL three years ago and gained the opportunity to advocate for so many youth who do not have a voice.”
– Vanessa Graham-McFarlane

About the Certificate Program

In earning the Child Welfare Certificate, students will develop practice knowledge and skills in areas of:

  • Child and Family Assessment
  • Child Development
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Trauma-informed Care
  • Family Violence
  • Child and Family Mental Health
  • Dependency Court Systems
  • Family Engagement
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Intervention Strategies for Children and Families
  • Child Welfare Policy
  • Child Maltreatment Prevention

Furthermore, students will gain direct experience in the field and successfully complete all foundational requirements to begin a career in child welfare. Certificate program components include:

  • Completion of foundational child welfare course examining the history and structure of the child welfare system, policy and legal frameworks, maltreatment types, and models of child maltreatment prevention and practice.
  • Completion of foundational course focused on applied skills for intervention and practice with children and families involved in the child welfare system.
  • Completion of a child welfare specific field seminar.

NOTE: The FAU Child Welfare Certificate is not the same as state certification. State certification in child welfare can be obtained only through the Florida Certification Board and employment at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or a community-based care agency.

Application Requirements

Please note that the Child Welfare Certificate is available only to students currently seeking a BSW or MSW in the Sandler School of Social Work. For MSW students, we also offer a completely online certificate option. To view application requirements, please download the Child Welfare Certificate infographic.

IMPORTANT: Applications must be submitted at least four weeks before graduation to ensure your student transcript is updated. Certificates cannot be issued to alumni who apply after they graduate.

Two-Step Application Process for Current BSW and MSW Students

  1. Complete the internal school application and follow each of the steps therein. Be sure to send your completed application to
  2. Complete the FAU Application for Certificate (which must be sent to your academic advisor) and Application for Degree (which is submitted online) – both forms are located on the University Registrar’s website.

Successful applicants should expect to receive their certificate within four to six weeks after graduation. Questions? Please email Dr. Marianna Colvin at