Internships and other educational opportunities

Internship Overview

The Department of Children and Families makes every effort to place students throughout the 14 Area Offices and Facilities.  Considerations for placement are based on the skill level of the student and the availability of Field Supervisors in their area of interest.


Internship Requirements

Students pursuing a minimum of a Bachelor or Masters in social work or related  field.  The Department requires that there be an Affiliation Agreement with all participating schools which  outlines the roles and responsibilities between the school and the department.  Students must confirm with their Field Education Department or equivalent to confirm if an agreement is in place.  Affiliation Agreements not currently in place must be initiated prior to the submission of Internship packet.  Due to the significant level of interactions with children, families and professionals, students must possess good moral  and professional conduct.


Inquiry Process


Once a student submits a thorough Inquiry (see link below) they can anticipate the following may occur:

  • To have their inquiry sent to the Area Office or Facility selected
  • To be contacted by the selected Area Office or Facility after the submission period  (see below for "Internship  Application" timeframes and deadlines.)
  • To be contacted  for an interview to discuss field  placement expectations students must  bring their Field Placement  Manual, Learning Contract and resume to the interview
  • To be provided with an Internship Packet from the Area Office /Facility once an interview has been scheduled and selected
  • To complete fingerprinting and background checks at DCF Central Office prior to Orientation
  • To attend a one day orientation once a field  placement has been offered by the AreaOffice/Facility.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Student, Field Instructor and School 

Expectations for student interns and their supervisors (a.k.a. "field instructors") differ between  schools and programs (i.e.  BSW or MSW).  It is crucial that student interns and prospective field instructors follow the guidelines detailed in the field manual provided by the student's school.  This section is intended as a general overview only.



The student is expected:

  • to consult and obtain approval from Field Advisor prior to submitting inquiry to provide the name and telephone number of approving faculty advisor
  • to understand and provide the field  placement requirements of their academic institution as requested
  • to thoroughly complete the on-line inquiry form (incomplete inquiries will not be considered) to complete the internship paperwork within the timeframe provided
  • to complete a learning contract according to the guidelines of their academic institution
  • to provide Field Instructor with class syllabus to assist in the identification of relevant activities
  • to participate in supervision throughout his/her placement
  • to maintain professional code of conduct at all times during the course of the field  placement, including but not limited to:  NASW standards, DCF policy  standards,   attendance and punctuality.
The Field Instructor is expected:
  • to provide the student with activities that meet the students learning objectives as outlined on the learning contract and class syllabus
  • to review the student's Field Manual including clearly stated expectations of the student and the field instructor
  • to provide regular, protected supervision time throughout his/her placement (minimum 2 hours per week early in the placement and a minimum of 1 hour per week towards the end)
  • to designate a back-up Field Instructor and provide  all contact information to the student
    to maintain regular contact with the student's Field Advisor; more frequently if problems arise with the placement
  • to maintain regular contact with the Area Office Internship Liaison to be SIFI certified, if required for placement of student
The school is expected:
  • to assign the student a Field Advisor
  • to approve the prospective placement prior to the student  completing the inquiry process
  • to provide the student and field advisor with a Field Placement Manual  or detailed outline  of clearly stated expectations for placement
  • to maintain regular contact with both the student and Field Instructor, including office  visits and phone contact
  • to be available to both the student and field advisor for mediation if necessary
What kind of time commitment is expected from the student?

There is some variation to this expectation, especially between undergraduate students and graduate students.  Students should consult with their respective Field Placement Office or Manual


What type of learning opportunities should the student have?


The internship in the  area office provides a wealth  of opportunities for  the students to gain considerable knowledge in the  area of protective services.   Students will have  the opportunity to observe  and practice case management, intervention skills, as well as understand the  assessment process  through the various facets of the  department that  include  but not  limited  to:

  • Investigations
  • In-Home  Services
  • Out-of-Home Services
  • Voluntary Services
  • Mental Health Services
  • Adolescent Services
  • Permanency Service
  • Foster Care and Adoption Services  (FASU)
  • Probate

In addition, there are internships available that provide students with administrative and direct clinical opportunities located within various departments of DCF, including placement with Juvenile Justice, Adolescent Services, Performance Management (aka Results Based Accountability), Education (USD 2), Health and Wellness, Clinical and Community Consultation and Support Team, Solnit – North & South Campuses and the Legislative division.  To start, all student interns who have not been employed by the Department of Children and Families should  receive  an orientation to the Department. Within that orientation, the student should learn about  the agency's  mission, structure, programs and policies. Furthermore, the student should tour DCF facilities and attend court hearings, including (if possible)  trials for termination of parental rights.  Assignments should afford students the opportunity to:

  • have responsibility for work tasks, i.e. to lead a group rather than observe; to staff  a committee rather than membership on the committee;
  • have ongoing (weekly) face to face contact with the client system throughout the school year; record practice encounters in an appropriate form (log, journal, process, etc.) for use in supervision and for development of professional self-awareness.
Furthermore, students should:
  • work with clients who represent socio-cultural, racial, ethnic, age and/or gender  differences;
  • form and maintain purposeful professional relationships with clients within context of the agency mission and expressed need of the clients.
What are some examples of actual assignments?

Work assignments should be based on the student's learning objectives.  Many programs include different expectations for students' first year and second year  placements.  Most programs expect students to be given  broad  range  of assignments in their  first  year so that  they  receive  a generalist education.  Likewise, most programs expect  that  students will receive  advanced  assignments matching their concentration or major  for their  second year  placement.  Student  experiences wilt differ  depending upon  their  degree program and preparation to work  in the  field  of child  welfare, so please  refer  to the student's field  manual for an accurate and specific  overview of the  relevant expectations.  Students with a clinical  focus will  find relevant activities in the Department's Facilities.  In all cases, students will work under close supervision and will not be assigned  to work on cases independently in LINK. While the goal is to ensure  that  interns have meaningful learning opportunities, the assigned  DCF staff has responsibility for all work  provided on behalf of case participants.  Some general practice assignments for the student's include  but  are not limited to:

  • Provide direct service(s)to one or more clients.  For example:
    • Supervise weekly family visits and provide a specified intervention (i.e. assistance to a parent in regard to the development of identified parenting skills);
    • Work with children, parents and foster parents in developing lifebooks;
    • Perform psychosocial histories;
    • Complete application for services on behalf of clients (i.e. Wilderness  School application procedures- written application, interview and orientation with client)
    • Assist clients with application for services
    • Provide mentoring services to adolescent clients
    • Provide transportation to assist clients in meeting case plan expectations
Work on case management activities such as:
  • Assist in trial preparation, such as the of service and/or visitation logs.
  • Document client progress of meeting case plan goals
  • Attend and participate in case planning meetings (i.e.  Quality Improvement Teams, Case Planning Conferences, Administrative Case Reviews, Permanency Planning Team meetings or Family Conferences; Permanency Teaming, and Child and Family Teaming Meetings
  • Conduct a case assessment and develop, inwriting, intervention plans for this case.
  • Organize an agency-based program (i.e.  A foster parent recruitment or recognition program)
  • Analysis of a policy problem; develop and compare aset of policy alternatives; determinea viable goal for a policy practice activity.
  • Organize, lead and evaluate work groups (i.e. Foster and Adoptive Parents Support Groups)
  • Advanced Year Casework Majorsshould receive assignments similar to the Foundation year assignments, but  it is necessary that students provide direct service to clients throughout the school year.
  • Advanced Year Group Work Majors must provide socialgroup work services to different kinds of groups over an academic year.   It isexpected that students devote a minimum of 5 contact hours  per week to direct practice with groups.   Students must lead a group solo, but can also have co-leading opportunities.  In addition, students can play the role of an advisor, convener,discussion leader, trainer or Instructor.  Students must also be afforded time as needed for individualized contacts, home visits, consultation, team conferences and referrals.
  • Advanced Year Community Organization Majors should receive assignments working with a community or agency group, committee or task force.  A good assignment would be for the student to be given a job of organizing and staffing a group around a particular communitytask.   A student could staff an existing group or do the leg work for setting the scene for organizing a task force  or committee.
  • Advanced Year Policy and Planning Majors should receive assignments working directlywith agency policy.  Thiscan include grant writing, program and project budgeting, program development, sophisticated policy analysis, program evaluation, strategic planning, involvingclients and consumers in the policy and planning process, advocacy and lobbying.
  • Advanced Year Administration Majors are expected to gain knowledge and skills in the major administrative functions.   Some assignments might include work with any facet of planning associated with the agency, including assessment of need for a specific program, development of a grant proposal, strategic planning, formalizing a program plan, manual preparation and participation in the budgeting process.   Students may also serve as a consultant to a committee or staff a committee, or serve as liaison between agency and other service  elivery systems. They may also organize and implement an In-service  training program, provide staff or program evaluation, organize and direct staff resources, develop a new service, maintain records and reports, work with policy, proposal development and implementation, or develop and use of procedures to provide structure for program implementation.

Internship Application


The online internship inquiry form should be completed according to the academic semester you are applying for, and you MUST specify which semester(s) you are applying for.

  • Spring: Inquiries will be accepted from October 1st until December 15th
  • Summer: Inquiries will be accepted from January 15th until March 15th
  • Fall:  Inquiries will be accepted from March 1st until May 15th


Click here to access the online inquiry form