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Department of Children and Families
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Policy Manual

TRAINING

11-18
Social Work Internship Program (SWIP)

Policy DCF shall provide for a Social Work Internship Program (SWIP).
Definition

The Social Work Internship Program (SWIP) is a Department sponsored educational internship, in a social work related program, which allows DCF staff the opportunity of a one (1) year assignment which results in a Master's degree for social work staff or a Bachelor's degree for support staff.

Mission of SWIP The mission of SWIP is to enhance the quality of services to children and families through opportunities for social work staff to utilize professional education to improve their casework and other service delivery skills.

The program supports retention of outstanding social work staff by providing opportunities for professional growth and preparation for advancement.

Interns in this program will

  • be better able to clinically assess and serve children and families that are referred for physical and sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment
  • be better able to identify and meet the needs of children in the areas of
    • temporary placement
    • concurrent planning
    • permanency
    • substance abuse
    • family violence
    • mental health
    • juvenile justice.
Who is Eligible Any DCF employee is eligible for SWIP if he/she:
  • meets the employment eligibility requirements (see below)
  • meets the academic eligibility requirements (see below)
  • submits a complete application package to the Training Academy by the application closing date.
Employment Eligibility Requirements Employment eligibility requirements:

The employee

  • has, or will have, satisfactorily completed three (3) years of service by the start of the educational internship

and

  • is currently in good standing in one of the qualified DCF positions* prior to the first day of the SWIP field placement assignment for which he/she is applying.  This requires authorization for release by regional or facility administration and all work completed to the satisfaction of the supervisor.

*Qualified DCF positions for SWIP graduate degrees include

  • Social Work Trainee
  • Social Worker
  • Children's Services Consultant
  • Psychiatric Social Worker
  • Social Work Supervisor
  • Program Supervisor
  • DCF Facilities staff.

*Qualified DCF positions for SWIP undergraduate degrees include

  • Social Work Case Aides
  • Social Service Assistants
  • DCF Facilities staff
  • Clerical staff.
Academic Eligibility Requirements Academic eligibility requirements:

The employee

  • is matriculated in one of the approved graduate or undergraduate degree programs, as specified below

and

  • has completed all of the degree requirements* toward graduation upon the completion of SWIP.  The sabbatical must include field placements (internships) and coursework on a full-time basis.

*SWIP Graduate Degrees

  • Candidates must be ready to complete field placements and coursework as full-time second year or advanced standing students.
  • The Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) does not allow MSW students to complete both placements in any one agency.  Since the majority of field placement opportunities provided by SWIP are within DCF, students who anticipate applying for SWIP are encouraged to do their first year internship outside of DCF.

*SWIP Undergraduate Degrees

  • Candidates must be ready to complete field placements and coursework as full-time seniors.
Approved Degree Programs

SWIP candidates may attend any accredited institution which offers one of the following approved degree programs:

  • Master of Social Work or Counseling
    All MSW majors will be considered with preference given to specializations in Services to Children and Families and/or Casework.  A joint degree such as MSW/JD, MSW/MPH, MSW/MA, MSW/MPA will be considered only for the internship and coursework in its final year.

A Master's degree in Counseling from Saint Joseph college must include a concentration in Child Welfare Studies.

 

  • Bachelor's Degrees
    Sociology, Child Development, Child Welfare, Clinical Psychology, Counseling, Criminal Justice, Human Development and Family Relations, Human Services, Marriage and Family Therapy, Nursing, Social and/or Human Services.
Tuition and Expenses SWIP participants are responsible for all tuition and other educational expenses.  State regulations prohibit SWIP participants from accepting tuition reimbursement provided by the P-2 bargaining agreement.
SWIP Selection Committee

SWIP participants will be selected by a committee composed of

  • supervisory representatives from the regional offices and facilities

  • field placement supervisors

  • a Training Academy representative.

Selection Basis

The selection committee will use a three-part selection process, as described in the table below.

Candidates will receive a rating score for each part.  The three (3) scores will be combined to arrive at a competitive ranking of candidates to fill ten (10) SWIP positions in the fall - spring session and an additional ten (10) positions in the summer session. 

Part Requirements

1

Employee's written application materials:
  • A current resume.
  • A copy of the most recent performance appraisal.
  • A copy of the personal statement which was submitted to the graduate school program.
  • Four (4) references, including:
  • One (1) from the Regional Administrator, Superintendent or Bureau Chief
  • Three (3) from professional colleagues outside the Department with whom the employee has worked in the past, such as community providers, clinics, foster parents, law enforcement, etc.

2

A competitive, written examination based on relevant social work competencies.

3

Direct interviews with the employee and members of the SWIP selection committee.

All candidates will respond to a case vignette and interview questions to demonstrate critical thinking skills, experience and oral communication skills.

 

Salary and Benefits

Participants will receive full salary and benefits during their assignment to SWIP.

Accruals for retirement time, holidays, and sick, vacation, and personal time will continue in accordance with collective bargaining agreements.

Return to a Regional Office

Graduating interns are assured of returning to an office in their original region and to the same level of position.

Participant Obligation Upon Completion

Upon completion of SWIP, participants will continue full-time service with the Department of Children and Families for a minimum of two (2) months of service for every month of SWIP participation.

Participants who do not comply with this provision will be required to reimburse the amount of salary received while participating in SWIP.  The amount of money owed will be prorated based on the percentage of time not completed.

Example:
An employee who owes 15 months of an 18 month commitment will be required to reimburse the Department of Children and Families 15/18, or 5/6 of the salary he/she received while in SWIP.  If that employee received $30,000, he/she would be required to pay back $25,000.

Field Placement Assignments Interns will be placed in the following field assignments:
  • Riverview Hospital for Children
  • Connecticut Children's Place
  • High Meadows
  • Long Lane School
  • Connecticut Juvenile Training School
  • a DMHAS facility, or
  • in programs designed by Regional Administrators.

Individual practice assignments (i.e., field days, group and family assignments) shall be the determination and responsibility of the student's field instructor.

While efforts will be made to consider a candidate's preference for field placement assignments, final placement decisions rest with the SWIP committee. 

Field Placement Responsibilities SWIP participants have the following responsibilities:

 

Area Responsibility
Learning Contract
  • Participants enter a learning contract with their field instructor which will be approved by the SWIP Committee.  The learning contract will clearly state the duties and anticipated schedule for the field placement as well as the schedule for classes. 
  • Participants must
    • carry out their clinical and/or administrative duties in their field placement

    and

    • continue as a matriculated student carrying a full-time course load.
  • Overtime pay and/or compensatory time will not be authorized for SWIP students for any reason.
Full-Time Course Load
  • Participants must
    • carry and complete a full-time course load to meet their school's graduation requirements by the end of SWIP
    • submit grades to the SWIP Committee each semester.
  • Incomplete grades are unacceptable.  Each SWIP participant must submit a copy of his/her grade report each semester to the Training Academy and to his/her field instructor.  Failure to do so will result in termination from the program.
Normal SWIP Work Week
  • A normal SWIP work week in the fall, winter, or spring terms consists of three days (24 hours) at the field placement in combination with two days (16 hours) for which participants will be released to attend classes and complete school assignments.
  • Summer interns work five full days (40 hours) at their field placements and will be released for class meeting times.
Illness or Personal Emergencies
  • If illness or personal emergencies prevent the participants from attending the field placement or classes as scheduled, they must notify the field instructor and abide by the rules and procedures for completing time sheets accurately.
Vacation
  • Requests for vacation require prior approval from the field instructor.  Approval is required to ensure adequate time for orientation to the clinical or administrative setting, and for maintaining clinical relationships, meeting service needs, and termination with clients.
  • Time sheets must reflect all vacation time.
School Recess Periods (Winter and Spring Break)
  • SWIP participants shall report to their field placements when school is not in session.
  • Unpaid leave is not permitted unless the field instructor, the administrator and the SWIP committee grant an exception.
  • If classes are in session during a state holiday, SWIP participants are expected to attend classes. No compensatory time or overtime will be granted for these days.
Related Programs The Department of Children and Families encourages its staff to become increasingly competent and supports the pursuit of academic advancement through several initiatives.

The Department

  • offers assistance in identifying field instructors and arranging internships within the Department and with community partners
  • provides the Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) course without charge to prospective new field instructors, including staff and community service providers
  • encourages its supervisory staff to become Field Instructors with the possibility of receiving $500 honorariums through the Graduate Education Support (GES) Program (subject to Regional Administrator, Facility Superintendent, or Bureau Chief approval)
  • may arrange flexible work hours for employees, depending on workloads and the Department's ability to accommodate requests (subject to Regional Administrator, Facility Superintendent, or Bureau Chief approval)
  • maintains professional journals and literature at its Training Academy Library.   Its resources and the full-time Librarian's services assist DCF staff with research requests on a wide variety of topics to contribute to the completion of educational assignments, overall learning, and staff development.  In some instances, textbooks commonly used by the universities are available for students to borrow for the entire semester.

Also,

  • Reduced caseloads and $6,000 stipends are available to selected DCF staff through the Graduate Education Support Program
  • Department employees may be eligible for paid-release time to attend selected courses at the universities.  The curriculum must be certified by the DCF Training Academy at least four (4) weeks in advance with Supervisor approval.

Connecticut Department of Children and Families                              Effective Date:  January 22, 2002  (Revised)