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.
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 official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200
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.
Applicants need to submit:
- a resume
- letters of recommendation
- statement of interest
Letters of Recommendation
Recommendations should be written by individuals who are familiar with your academic achievement, potential, and relevant professional and/or volunteer experience in the field of social work or other human service related field.
Recommendation letters should include:
- How long and in what capacity the recommender and applicant have known each other
- An evaluation of the applicant's capabilities and suitability for graduate education
- An evaluation of the applicant's 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)
- An assessment of the applicant's potential for professional growth and development, capacity for self-awareness, and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others
- Applicant's leadership abilities, work performance (academic or professional) and personal characteristics that could either help or hinder the applicant's development as an effective social worker
- Other comments
Advanced Standing Applicants
If you earned a BSW from a CSWE accredited program within the last 8 years, your recommendations must include:
- One academic reference
- One field instructor reference
If you have not started your advanced field practicum, you can have a reference from a social service professional.
Full Program Applicants
If you do not have a BSW from the last eight years but earned a degree within the past year, your recommendations must include:
- One academic reference
- One reference from a paid or volunteer experience in a social service agency
If you have been out of school for more than a year, your recommendations must include:
- One reference from a social service supervisor
- One reference from a professional colleague or former supervisor
- One reference from volunteer experience in a social service agency
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, School Social Work, or Gerontology) 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.
A background check will also be required.
- Fall (August) Term — September 1 - March 1
- 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.