View Full Version : stipend=job commitment M.S.W.
01-19-2008, 05:11 PM
For the tuition reimbursement and a living stipend at the MSW program I am looking at, you have to commit to working for DCS for 2 years after receiving your degree.
This seems to be a good deal (it helps you get your foot in the door); however, I wonder about the effects it can have on your career if DCS and the like is not the path you eventually want your career to go.
What do you guys think?
01-19-2008, 05:51 PM
Is that the Title XIV grant? I didn't realize that was a national initiative. That started when I was a senior BSSW student and about 6 people in my class took advantage of it. It was my understanding that you do a paid practicum with DFS, and then have your 2-year commitment, for a total of about 3 years. One woman in my class repaid her stipend rather than have to fulfill her commitment because her practicum site experience was so bad.
First off, let me say that the actual work experience you would get would probably be excellent- a good starting point. However, things to be wary of- at least in my state, you do not get to choose which county you work in after graduation. DFS assigns you to wherever they have a need, and it may not be where you want to live. Depending on the state, DFS employees may or may not have social work/human services backgrounds (there was a time when they'd take any warm body with a college degree). I'd want to make sure that wherever you go, a qualified licensure supervisor is available. There is a huge problem with burnout among workers in child protection and needs assessment. (That's actually the topic of a friend's social work PhD dissertation.) And finally, if your interest is in clinical/mental health work, ie, you have any goals of doing therapy in any setting, that experience really will not prepare you for that. I'm just throwing that in there since this is a side forum of the clinical psych board, so most SWs here are interested in that track.
Ultimately my opinion is that the stipend is most likely not worth the hassle of working for DFS for 3 years. But I'm n=1, and my opinion should be treated as such- not necessarily reliable or generalizable. ;)
01-19-2008, 08:47 PM
Is that the Title XIV grant? [...I cut alot of stuff out here :)...]
...if your interest is in clinical/mental health work, ie, you have any goals of doing therapy in any setting, that experience really will not prepare you for that.
Thanks. Yes it is the title XIV grant.
Your response pretty much confirmed the possible downsides that I was imagining. And although, I am somewhat interested in child protection, it is most definitely not something I would want to do for more than a couple of years--definitely not my whole career.
My interests are definitely more clinical so it would probably be better for me to just look for a GA position on campus (which would also pay all of my tuition and fees) and then take an internship in a more clinical setting.
01-20-2008, 02:05 PM
For child protection experience, see if it's an option to do a practicum at a Children's Advocacy Center (http://www.nca-online.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=4028). Because of the forensic nature of the work, I don't know if they accept students- a lot of cases take a while to go to court, and odds are you'd be done with the practicum before that time. Probably worth looking into seeing what opportunities they may offer, though.
If there's a children's hospital in your area, they may have a child protection team which usually includes at least one social worker. You could see if that SW would be willing to accept practicum student. Again, not exactly a therapy-type experience, but you'd learn a LOT.
01-22-2008, 06:43 AM
In my state they have a similar grant, but for BSW students only. The turnover rate among state social workers is EXTREMELY HIGH! This is due mainly to dissatisfaction and dangerous working conditions. Most new workers in my state do not stay past 18 months:eek:. So a program to guarantee they stay for 2 years is a major boost. Down falls: you can't choose your county, the state is very rural so most counties have only 1-2 workers (HIGH CASELOADS), and the pay is abborhent.
01-22-2008, 09:39 AM
OK, correction- it's actually Title IV-E, not XIV. My bad!
However, I just spoke with a colleague here at the hospital who is a field placement liaison at the SW program where I did my BSSW and *she* said...
That in her experience, most people get their top 1 or 2 choices regarding county, but it's not guaranteed. Since we're in an urban area, there's always a need so it's not too hard to get placed in our city/county region. Also, since most of the grant money is for BSSW students, that non-traditional students who want the guaranteed job after graduation seem to fare better than those who are planning to get their MSW relatively quickly. I asked her if that was in part due to "more seasoned" (older :D ) students having a better understanding of what working for DFS entails, and she said "probably". She also said the only possible opportunity for clinical/therapy work would be if you can get into the In-home Intensive Services program, but she's unsure as to whether they use students in that area.
If you have any other questions, let me know- I'm happy to ask her about it and get the inside scoop. :)