Child Welfare Services Professionals Encouraged to Join M.S.W. Scholar Program at Winthrop

July 13, 2023


  • Ten scholars will begin the Winthrop program this fall.
  • These professionals have committed to continue working with SCDSS in Child Welfare Services for a minimum of two years after graduation in exchange for tuition assistance.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University is part of a newly launched partnership with the S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS) to encourage child welfare professionals to seek a graduate degree in social work.

Select DSS professionals will be given financial assistance to seek a Master of Social Work degree at either Winthrop or the University of South Carolina. Kori Bloomquist, a Winthrop associate professor of social work, said the university’s social work department is passionate about the opportunity to work with these professionals. Ten scholars will begin in the program this fall.

Those professionals will need to commit to continue working with the children and families served by SCDSS in Child Welfare Services for a minimum of two years after graduation in exchange for the tuition assistance.

“The Department of Social Services is always looking toward the future. We want to make sure our DSS professionals have the support they need to further their education and sharpen their skills in order to better serve the children and families of South Carolina,” said Michael Leach, DSS state director. 

DSS professionals admitted to the program will receive the following benefits in exchange for committing to employment with DSS for two years post-graduation:

* Full tuition each semester
* Reimbursement for required books and course materials (does not include notebooks, folders, paper, etc.)
 *Eligible for salary increase upon graduation, according to the published Child Welfare Salary Plan Schedule 

To be eligible to apply for the DSS Child Welfare Employee M.S.W. Scholars Tuition Assistance Program, students must:

*Be a current employee of DSS Child Welfare Services for at least one year
*Currently hold a bachelor’s degree
*Obtain admission into the Graduate School and/or Master of Social Work program at the University of South Carolina or Winthrop 
*Have no pending or previous disciplinary action within the last two years of employment at DSS

To maintain good standing, employee program participants must:

*Apply and be accepted into the Child Welfare Scholars Program with DSS
*Maintain part-time enrollment in a M.S.W. program at one of the participating State of South Carolina universities' social work programs
*Maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in all coursework
*Satisfactorily complete a DSS Child Welfare internship
*Maintain employment with DSS Child Welfare during the program and for at least two years post-graduation
*Learn more about the application requirements, deadlines and how to apply here.

Last fall, SCDSS announced the B.S.W. Scholars Tuition Assistance Program, which shares the same goals as the M.S.W. program. 

De’Ja Young, Winthrop’s inaugural B.S.W. Child Welfare Scholar, is entering her final year of coursework this fall. She will intern with the Department of Social Services during the spring semester and begin her career there upon graduation in May 2024. Winthrop will welcome three new B.S.W. Child Welfare Scholars this fall, Bloomquist said.

For more information, please visit the M.S.W. Scholars Tuition Assistance Program or the B.S.W. Scholars Tuition Assistance Program.

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