Social Work - Child and Family Practice
Make a positive impact on children and families.
Child and Family Practice focuses on the four key social problems affecting clients: mental illness, intimate partner violence, poverty, and substance use.
You will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge in a variety of areas. Our electives and practicum experience center around special populations and social problems such as:
- foster care and special needs adoption
- substance use
- family violence
- sexual abuse
- physical and mental illness
- agency administration and program planning
Our agency-based practice gives you the opportunity to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to working with children and families. Through this experience, you will learn how to develop, deliver, and manage services to meet the needs of clients.
Whatever your interest may be, we have just the spot for you. Agency locations include:
- mental health facilities
- child welfare agencies
- substance use disorder treatment programs
- youth centers
- prevention agencies
- homeless programs
- intimate partner violence centers
- community centers
Point of Pride
Illinois State's Center for Child Welfare and Adoption Studies established its First Start Academy in 2017 to help prepare high school-aged youth in foster care for college. There are only a handful of First Star academies in the U.S.
Discover what life as a Illinois State graduate student is like with an Online Graduate Student Information Session.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
A student applying to this program must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or any previous work in a master's program. A student will qualify for Advanced Standing admissions if they have received a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program within 8 years.
Applicants need to submit:
- a resume
- letters of recommendation
- statement of interest
Letters of Recommendation
Include recommendations from two individuals who are familiar with your academic potential and achievement, and with your professional or volunteer experience in social work or other human service related fields.
If you are an Advanced Standing applicant who has completed your field practicum in the past 2 years, one of your recommendation letters should be from your field instructor.
Recommendation letters should include how long and in what capacity the recommender and applicant have known each other. The letter will provide an assessment of the applicant’s:
- Capabilities and suitability for graduate education
- Capabilities and suitability for subsequent practice in the field of social work (i.e. applicant's level of competence in his/her ability to work with others, level of comfort with social and cultural differences, respect for differences, and commitment to social and economic equity)
- Potential for professional growth and development, capacity for self-awareness, and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others
- Leadership abilities
- Academic or professional work performance
- Characteristics that could either help or hinder the applicant's development as an effective social worker
- Other comments that might inform the committee decision
Statement of Interest
Length: 5-10 pages
Style: American Psychological Association (APA) format
Your essay should demonstrate your interest in earning a master’s degree and working in the social work field. Draw from your academic, personal, and professional experiences to answer the following questions and topics in your essay:
- Why have you chosen to pursue a MSW at this time and what are your intended career goals? Please address which specialization (Child and Family Practice or School Social Work) you are interested in and how that specialization fits with your career goals.
- Discuss your experience with individuals from diverse backgrounds and how these experiences have influenced your development as a future social worker. Give examples of actions you have taken to remedy challenges and empower individuals from diverse communities.
- Please choose one of the 6 values of the NASW Code of Ethics (service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence) and describe how you have incorporated that value into your personal and professional/volunteer experiences.
- What is your history of academic and/or professional success? If you’ve had challenges, academically or professionally, how have you addressed those challenges? What is your plan to be successful in graduate school?
- What opportunities have you pursued outside of the classroom to facilitate your professional growth? How have these experiences prepared you for the profession of social work?
- Please describe the volunteer experiences in which you have participated and how they have prepared you for a career in social work.
- Please address whether you plan to attend school full-time or part-time. Discuss your plan to meet the demands of a rigorous graduate program, including financially, while managing your additional responsibilities and obligations
Entry into the social work program and profession is also based on legal requirements. The Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics outline the laws around getting your license and practicing in the field.
- Fall (August) Term — Extended to March 21
- Spring (January) Term — No admission
- Summer (May/June) Term — No admission
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good-standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).
Graduate assistants receive
- monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.