Visit Health Watch for COVID-19 updates. Find Employee Return to Campus and Student Return to Campus information.
Emergency Notification

Field Education

Hermila Melero portrait

Welcome to our returning students and all new students to CSULA School of Social Work. 

Field Education plays an integral role in the total curriculum for social work students. The experience offers an opportunity for students to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge and social work practice. Field work experience is a vital dimension of students’ undergraduate and graduate social work education. It is designed to provide new and challenging experiences to the students and to maximize learning opportunities.  The hours of field practice prepare students to enter the work force as professional social work practitioners.

The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving and empowerment of people to enhance overall well-being.  We are change agents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families and communities we serve. It is a privilege to support and guide you into the rewarding field of social work.  

Hermila Melero, MSW, LCSW
Field Education Director
School of Social Work
California State University, Los Angeles

Stipend Programs

CalSWEC Title IV-E

The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) Title IV-E Program at CSULA’s School of Social Work began in 1999. CalSWEC is a partnership among the Schools of Social Work, public human services agencies, and other related professional organizations that facilitates the integration of education and practice to assure effective, culturally responsive service delivery to the people of California. CalSWEC provides professional education and monetary support to social work students who intend to pursue or continue a career in the field of public child welfare upon graduation. Funded through Title IV-E monies from the federal government, CalSWEC provides stipends to MSW students in exchange for a commitment to work in a public child welfare agency, within the State of California, for a minimum of two years and the opportunity for a fulfilling lifelong career in public child welfare.

Application and Admissions

  • Interested candidates must first apply to the CSULA MSW Program. A CalSWEC application will be sent upon acceptance to the MSW program.
  • Complete the “Application for Public Child Welfare Stipend Program” included in the acceptance packet.
    • At CSULA School of Social Work, we offer a full-time/2 year CalSWEC IV-E program and a part-time/3year CalSWEC Title IV-E program. The part-time/3-year CalSWEC program is for current county child welfare employees who are eligible for release time.
    • To be eligible for CalSWEC, you must be able to pass a criminal background check.
    • If you are unable to successfully complete any of the program requirements, you must repay the stipend.

CalSWEC Internships

For their first year of internship, students are placed in a community-based organization that serves Title IV-E children and families.  During their second year of internship, students are placed with Los Angeles County Department of Children & Family Services, where they have the opportunity to practice and develop skills and tasks consistent with those of Children’s Social Workers in public child welfare. Students who are LA County DCFS employees are assigned to a placement that is different from their assignments as employees.

  • Full-time CalSWEC IV-E Stipend Program (2-year students only)
  • Stipend Recipients receive $18,500 per academic year (totaling $37,000) and upon graduation, must obtain a position in public child welfare for a minimum of one year for each year of financial support received.  This employment obligation must be fulfilled within the state of California, at a county public child welfare agency (including LA County) for two (2) years.
  • Part-time CalSWEC IV-E Stipend Program (3-year students who are current employees of a county Public Child Welfare Agency)
  • Recipients receive reimbursement for tuition and fees, and the cost for required textbooks, travel for each day of class or fieldwork (up to $14,164 per year). A public child welfare employee who has received a letter of support and release time agrees to return to the agency of employment immediately after MSW graduation and render two years of continuous and satisfactory full-time employment in a position that is at least at a level appropriate to a new MSW in child welfare services. 

Program requirements:

  • Maintain a B (3.0) average in all coursework.
  • Successfully complete the first year of fieldwork, placed in a non-profit agency serving IV-E eligible children.
  • Successfully complete the second year of fieldwork placed in a public child welfare agency.
  • Have a valid driver’s license, current automobile insurance, and secure the use of a car as required by field work.
  • Completion of a Child Welfare elective course, which takes place in the concentration year.
  • Undergo pre-screening for county employment including fingerprinting, psychological examination, and medical examination.


The LA County MSW DCFS Stipend Program is a federally funded program and partnership between the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and seven MSW programs in Southern California. Under the Title IV-E provision of the Social Security Act, the goal is to improve the professional preparation of public child welfare workers. The collaborative offers a DCFS Internship Program for MSW students. CSULA provides up to eight stipends annually. The DCFS Internship is a one-year stipend program offered in the second year of field (2nd year in the 2-year program and 3rd year in the 3-year program). MSW students receive a stipend in the amount of $18,500. Upon graduation, students are required to work at L.A. County DCFS for one year. The goal is to have students commit to a career with DCFS.

Who may apply?

  • Eligible students must submit a DCFS Stipend application.
  • The application and instructions are sent in the admissions packet for 2 year program students.
  • Applications for 3 year students are made available at the 1st year placement orientation.
  • Selected students will be invited for an interview.

DCFS Stipend Brochure 2021

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Valenzuela portrait
Lisa Valenzuela, MSW
LA DCFS Stipend Coordinator
[email protected]



Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium

The Southern California Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC) is the nation's first major regional consortium consisting of GSWEC-accredited graduate social work programs, geriatric social work agencies and a variety of health and social aging service providers.  Funding for student stipends comes from private foundations with a goal of creating a replicable and sustainable model for integrated field and academic graduate geriatric social work education. The goal is to advance preparation of geriatric social workers in order to strengthen the quality of care available to older populations.

Stipend:  Students are selected directly through GSWEC and receive a stipend varying from $4,000 to $6,000.  A primary field placement is customized to students' geriatric practice interests.  A secondary case-based experience complements the continuum of care and offers opportunities for specialized learning needs and a macro project.  Students receive competency-based training, a certificate upon program completion and participate in a special graduation program at the end of the year.

Admission:  Students must be in the Aging and Family Concentration to apply.   The application process starts every January during the 2nd year field education placement process (during the first year of field education).  Students are selected and matched with a GSWEC agency through the 2nd year interview process.