Child Welfare

About Us

The Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) is a federally funded, 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 pursuing their MSW, and for other MSW students interested in child welfare as a career path. 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 field 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 Master of Social Work Program.

SPECIAL COVID-19 INSTRUCTIONS: All application materials must be received by the site-specific deadline; for deadline information please contact the site you will be attending. Please work with site coordinator of the program you will be attending to arrange secure delivery of your application materials.


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.

Applicants can request a CWTAP application packet through their site-specific contacts, or download the application materials below.

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 must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the application deadline to allow time for processing. Please follow all instructions on the form carefully to avoid having to resubmit; this will delay your application, or could cause you to miss the deadline. The applicant’s original signature is required on the background check.

Please contact site you plan to attend for instructions 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.


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