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Child Welfare Stipend Program

The Child Welfare Stipend Program in the MSU Denver Department of Social Work aims to support and grow a well-prepared workforce for child welfare in Colorado.

The child welfare stipend is designed for BSSW and MSW students interested in pursuing a career as a Colorado county child welfare caseworker or supervisor.

The stipend program is an excellent way for social work students to gain knowledge and experience. Stipend recipients have a high rate of immediate employment post-graduation.

Stipend amounts range from $3,250 - $13,000/academic year. The stipend program is a competitive process. Learn more about Child Welfare Stipend Eligibility & Requirements.

For more information, contact Lara Bruce, Child Welfare Stipend Coordinator, at or 303-605-7010.


The Child Welfare Stipend Program is a statewide partnership between the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), Colorado county departments of human services, Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and three additional Colorado-based universities:

  • Colorado State University (CSU) Pueblo
  • Colorado State University (CSU) Fort Collins
  • University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW)

Since 1995, CDHS has awarded over two million dollars in child welfare stipends to MSU Denver’s social work students who are completing their degrees in the children and famliy pathway. The stipend program is federally funded by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act and matching state funds.

In 2018, the Colorado Child Welfare Stipend Program conducted a ten-year cohort study of stipend program graduates from 2006-2016. The purpose of this initial study was to better understand the following research questions:

  1. How do Colorado graduates of the stipend program experience organizational commitment?
  2. How does receiving a Title IV-E stipend affect their identity as a child welfare professional?
  3. How does being a Title IV-E graduate affect intent to stay in the field?

In total, 202 graduates were located and invited to participate in a mixed methods evaluation that included an online survey and follow-up focus groups for those who were still working in a county child welfare agency. The survey measured individual factors (self-efficacy, job satisfaction, intent to stay, secondary trauma, burnout, coping skills, time pressure, social work education satisfaction, and exposure to violence) unit-level factors (peer support), organizational factors (organizational climate and professional development) and community-level factors (public perception of child welfare).  Focus groups facilitated discussion around identity, career paths, and experience of organizational commitment. 

Read the full report: Colorado Title IV-E Findings from the 2018 Stipend Graduates Study

What do child welfare workers do?

Child welfare workers, supervisors and managers have an opportunity to work in a variety of capacities and with a diverse population of children, youth and families. Primary responsibilities of a case worker include: intake, assessment, case planning, permanency and ongoing services across all areas of child welfare.

MSU child welfare stipend recipients have the opportunity to participate in the Fundamentals training for new caseworkers in Colorado. This training series provides students with specific child welfare policies and practices to Colorado. Participation in the process certifies students to be child welfare caseworkers in Colorado post-graduation, a great resume booster!

Watch this video to learn more about being a caseworker in Colorado!

Learn more about child welfare in Colorado at

Learn more about Child Welfare Stipend Eligibility & Requirements

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