College of Social Work

Child Welfare Practice (Graduate Certificate)

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The Graduate Certificate in Child Welfare Practice provides specialized knowledge and skills related to serving neglected and abused children and their families.  The nine hour credit curriculum offers post-baccalaureate and MSW students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in the area of child welfare practice.  Students who are admitted to the UK Graduate School and complete the certificate in post-baccalaureate status may use the credential as a foundational piece for the UK MSW program.

Child Welfare Practice

Child welfare practice requires professionals to be lifelong learners due to the complex and multiple factors that contribute to child trauma and maltreatment such as substance use disorders, violence, and poverty.  Improving safety and well-being outcomes for children and families requires in-depth study of child welfare research, policy, and evidence-based practices.  Child welfare professionals are employed across the nation and internationally.  This graduate certificate is transferrable to other states and will benefit students who plan to practice beyond Kentucky.

Nationally, child and family social worker jobs in the U.S. are projected to grow 10% - 14% between 2014 – 2026 with 9,250 projected annual job openings (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).  Individuals who complete the certificate as an enhancement to the MSW degree or as an addition to their existing bachelor’s degree will enhance their knowledge for serving children in a variety of settings including public child welfare agencies, community mental health centers, hospitals, and non-profits serving children.  

Career opportunities utilizing child welfare expertise:
  • Social Service Workers
  • Youth Services Specialists
  • Therapists
  • School Social Workers
  • In-Home Services Clinicians
  • Child and Family Impact Service Coordinators
  • Case Managers
  • Child Evaluation Specialists
  • Assessment Clinicians


Application Requirements

  • An official transcript displaying a baccalaureate degree from a fully accredited U.S. institution of higher learning or from a recognized foreign institution is required. The official transcript should be submitted at the time of application to the UK Graduate School.
  • The GRE is not required for admission to this program.
  • Application Deadlines:
    • Spring: December 9
    • Summer: April 15
    • Fall: July 22

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.


Kalea Benner

Director of Graduate Certificate

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

College of Social Work

619 Patterson Office Tower

Lexington, KY 40506

(859) 257-6650