Child Welfare

About Us

The Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) is a Title IV-E partnership between Washington’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and participating public universities. Eastern is proud to be part of this successful, long-standing partnership. Applicants must be willing to commit to a specified period of employment with DCYF following graduation, and be willing to accept employment anywhere in the State of Washington.

CWTAP seeks to recruit and retain highly trained, well-educated and committed child welfare professionals for this critical work. CWTAP is designed for current child welfare professionals and other students who wish to pursue a MSW or BASW in child welfare. In exchange for receiving financial assistance, CWTAP students agree to work for Washington’s DCYF following graduation. With approval from DCYF, graduates may seek employment with a Federally Recognized Tribe in Washington State.

CWTAP students complete their practicum in DCYF offices. The practicum experience focuses learning on professional child welfare practice and includes learning on child abuse and neglect, risk assessment, family reunification, separation and loss, permanency planning, court testimony, and case management.

Additional Resources

Application Information

To be eligible to apply for CWTAP, students must first be accepted to the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work or the Master of Social Work Program.

Please contact us to inquire about CWTAP application deadlines.

PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL APPLICATION FORMS. You can upload all forms in the application portal. 

It is strongly recommended that students interested in CWTAP attend an orientation session, or at minimum meet with a CWTAP faculty field instructor (FFI) to learn more about the program and discuss the application process. Please contact the site you are interested in attending for information on orientation sessions, or to speak with an FFI.

Reference letters are an important part of the application package. Your reference letters need to speak specifically about child welfare. Reference letters should include at least one professional reference, and in most cases should not come from friends, family, or clergy. Current DCYF employees should include at least one supervisor reference from the Department. CWTAP does not accept MSW application reference letters (this is a common pitfall). Please read and follow instructions carefully on the “reference cover sheet” document.

Applicants are potential Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) employees and as such are required to successfully pass a Criminal History Background Check (BCCU) as well as provide documentation verifying employment eligibility within the United States. You must have a valid driver’s license to work for DCYF thus, students must also have one to be in the CWTAP program.

Applicants selected for an interview will be notified after the application deadline. All candidates selected to move forward in the selection process are required to participate in a panel interview.

Please use the following application materials to assist you in your application. Click the “Apply Now’ button once you are ready to begin your application.

Apply Now


This is a different application portal than how you applied to the MSW program. If you have studied at EWU for your undergraduate degree or another program, this is likely the same portal used in that application, and you should already have an account. Otherwise, you may need to make a new account here.

Please contact us with any question or issues accessing the CWTAP application portal.

Student Institute

The Annual CWTAP Student Institute is a collaboration of the Child Welfare Training & Advancement Programs from all three participating universities (Eastern Washington University, University of Washington Seattle, and University of Washington Tacoma) and the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The Institute provides students with a forum for networking and sharing learning with one another in an atmosphere of mutual support and peer education. Students present on topics that directly relate to professional child welfare practice and the mission and goals of the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families. The Institute also offers opportunities for collaboration and networking with some of the State’s most highly-regarded leaders in child welfare.

The Student Institute has been a student-centered learning and networking showcase since the program began in the mid-1990s. At the Institute, students meet and form professional relationships that frequently last throughout their careers. In fact, participants in CWTAP and the Institute are often future leaders in public child welfare.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Background Check Authorization form should be submitted securely through our application portal, along with your other application materials. The applicant’s original signature is required on the background check.

Please contact the site you plan to attend for questions on submitting this form.


You will need two letters of reference from individuals who are able to speak to the applicant’s potential for a career in public child welfare. At least one of the two letters should be a professional reference. Please use the Reference Cover Sheet form.

The essay should speak to why you (applicant) are interested in a career in public child welfare. It should be two typewritten pages, double-spaced using size 12 font and include the applicant’s name. It does not need to be formatted in APA style.

Only current DCYF employees must complete the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families Employee Participation form. The form should be signed by the employee’s chain of command; usually, this means supervisor, area administrator, and regional administrator.

Yes, resubmitting MSW reference letters are a common shortcut, or pitfall resulting in incomplete applications.  CWTAP reference letters must specifically address candidate’s suitability for child welfare practice. Additionally, the CWTAP essay must specifically address why applicant is interested in a career in public child welfare.