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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Child Welfare

The Child Welfare concentration prepares social workers for work with children and families served in public and private child welfare agencies. Most of these children and families have experienced child maltreatment. Many of these families are also experiencing poverty, domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse.

Intervention is focused on building upon individual and family strengths, preventing and alleviating the consequences of child maltreatment, and promoting the safety, permanence and well-being of children who have suffered, or are at risk of, child maltreatment.

The minimum credits required for the MSW degree is 90 (60 for advanced standing students). In addition to the courses listed below, students may also take courses from other concentration areas or up to 10 credits of coursework (with the approval of the advisor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) from other DU graduate programs to fulfill elective requirements.


Required Recommended
Theory for
(3 credits required)
SOWK 4305 – Causes & Consequences of Child Maltreatment
SOWK 4320 – Theories & Practice of Family Systems Therapy
SOWK 4315 – Building Resilience: Healthy Development in Childhood &
SOWK 4345 – Intersections of Mental Health, Substance Use & Trauma
(9 credits required)
SOWK 4415 –
Intake & Family
Based Services: Assessment & Intervention
SOWK 4416 –
Foster Care & Permanency
At least one additional course from this list →
SOWK 4454 – Child and Adolescent Trauma
SOWK 4705 – Forensic Orientation and Social Work
SOWK 4710 – Domestic Violence
SOWK 4340 – Leadership and Supervision Skills
SOWK 4971 – Assessment of Mental Health in Children and Youth
SOWK 4754 – Trauma Response and Recovery
SOWK 4430 – Substance Use Interventions
SOWK 4741 – Grief and Loss across the Life Span
SOWK 4412 – Practice Elements in Interventions with Children & Youth
SOWK 4500 – Mental Health Interventions with Children
SOWK 4730 – Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
SOWK 4713 – Interdisciplinary Approaches to School, Family, & Community Prevention
SOWK 4730 – Cognitive Approaches in SW Practice
SOWK 4713 – Interdisciplinary Approaches to School, Family, & Community Prevention

Policy and 
Social and 
(3 credits required)

SOWK 4600 – Child Welfare Policies & Services
SOWK 4645 – Health Care Policy
SOWK 4635 – Immigration Policy and Services
SOWK 4610 – Policies and Programs for Children and Youth
SOWK 4712 – Law of Family and Child
SOWK 4640 – Mental Health & Substance Use Policies

Research (6 credits required)

SOWK 4900-Methods for Evaluating Practice/Programs
SOWK 4901-Applied Practice Evaluation Research
Research courses must be taken in sequence. The research will be conducted in the student's field placement.
Values for 
Practice (3 credits required)

At least 3 credits from this list →
SOWK 4732 – Disrupting Privilege and Anti-Oppressive Practice
SOWK 4232 - Critical Race Praxis
SOWK 4749 – Social Work with Latinos/as
SOWK 4764 – Historical Trauma
SOWK 4235 – Disproportionality & Disparity Across Systems
SOWK 4240 – Intergenerational Justice
SOWK 4751 –Global Relations & Poverty in Mexico
SOWK 4971 – SW Response to Postwar Bosnia
SOWK 4759 – Global Cultural Perspectives: Consensus & Conundrums
SOWK 4753- Social Development in Latin America
SOWK 4758 – Conservation SW in Kenya: Context, Empowerment, Sustainability
SOWK 4790—Human Sexuality
SOWK 4890– Contemporary Global Issues
SOWK 4971—Gender & Feminisms in Social Work Practice
SOWK 4971—Cultural Connectedness: A Journey into Native American Country
SOWK 4990 – Special Topics (as approved, titles vary)
(15-18 credits)
SOWK 4970-Concentration Field Internship
Appropriate internships are chosen in consultation with the Field Team.
(1 credit)
Required in final quarter of program

Note: Most courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise indicated on the course schedule.

Additional electives with particular relevance to the Child Welfare Concentration include:
SOWK 4700 – Solution Focused Brief Therapy
SOWK 4755 – Interventions for Responses to Trauma (pre-req SOWK 4754)
SOWK 4721 – Existential Social Work
SOWK 4735 – Interpersonal Approaches to Counseling
SOWK 4784 – Suicide Assessment & Interventions
SOWK 4330 – Assessment of Mental Health in Adults
SOWK 4715 – School Social Work Interventions
SOWK 4971 – Advanced Skills for Working with Military Families
SOWK 4971 – Eco-friendly Experiential Therapy with Children and Youth
SOWK 4425 - Positive and Community Youth Development