Child Welfare Education Collaborative (CWEC)

North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative At Western Carolina University


The North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative was established in 1999 to improve public child welfare services in North Carolina including the education of Child Welfare Professionals and the retention of highly trained social workers in the field of Child Welfare.   The program is administered by the Jordan Institute for Families at UNC Chapel Hill, the Collaborative is a joint effort of the NC Division of Social Services, the NC Association of County Directors of Social Services, the National Association of Social Workers NC Chapter, and the following social work education programs across North Carolina:

East Carolina University
Appalachian State University
Joint Master of Social Work Program (NC AT&T University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Fayetteville State University
North Carolina A&T University
North Carolina Central University
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Western Carolina University

The Mission Of Child Welfare

Child Welfare works to ensure safe, permanent and nurturing families for children.  Services focus on supporting and stabilizing families.  When this is not possible, placements for children through foster care or adoption are found.  Child welfare is a collaboration of professionals, community members and the family to ensure that decisions are in the best interest of the child, family and community.

Western Carolina University

The Child Welfare Education Collaborative at Western began in 2008 when the General Assembly voted to increase the number of Universities participating in this program.  Western Carolina University participates in the BSW program for Collaborative Scholars.  Applications deadlines are April 1 and November 1 of each year. 

Who Should Apply

Any BSW student interested in a career in public child welfare is eligible to apply

Candidates must be admitted into the BSW program

Students must have a GPA of 3.0 in Social Work classes to be admitted to the program

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in Social Work classes to remain in the program

Priority is given to students who can participate in the program for their final 3 semesters and to current DSS staff members

Application deadlines April 1 and November 1 each year

All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States and have access to a car for field placement assignments.

Award Recipients are required

To be accepted into the Social Work Program at WCU

Execute a Student Contract Agreement with the NC Child Welfare Education Collaborative

Register for specific courses identified by the Collaborative

Complete field placements in public child welfare

Participate in child welfare trainings and seminars offered by the Collaborative

Upon graduation, secure employment in a North Carolina public child welfare agency

Provide employment reports and other information as requested

Participate in an on-going program evaluation

Awards are contingent upon satisfactory progress in the Collaborative and the availability of funds.

If Collaborative Scholars do not fulfill the requirements of work repayment they will be responsible to repay the award amount provided by the Collaborative with interest as they would with a student loan.


Education and training specific to child welfare including completion of the NC Pre-Service Program

Financial support, the current award is $4000 per semester that the scholar is in the program

Advanced job placement upon graduation

Job placement assistance

Statewide training and networking opportunities

Child Welfare Scholar Alumni Benefits


Application for Child Welfare Collaborative

Department of Social Services Application

Deadline is April 1 and November 1

Turn completed applications into Social Work Office, McKee G04

After applications have been received a selection committee comprised of WCU faculty, child welfare administrators, former Collaborative Scholars will recommend the acceptance of new scholars


NC-Child Welfare Education Collaborative Central Office

Realistic Job Preview

NC Department of Health and Human Services

NC DSS Children Services Web Site

Field Education


Other Links

Western Carolina University Child Welfare Education Collaborative Scholars and Graduates

Meghan Crews
Ramona Dowdell
Whitney Harris
Amanda Hostetter
Cindy Hoyle
Emily Lovik
Tammy Orr
Haven Phillips
Frieda Saylor
Holly Smith
Steven Whitehorn
Monica Wildcat
Lisa Weeks

Western Carolina University Child Welfare Education Collaborative Faculty

Tonya Westbrook, Ph.D.

Phone: 828-227-2578
Office Address: McKee G08-A

Donna Hensley Beck, MSW

Phone: 828-227-2647
Office Address: McKee G08-C


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