The PCWCP ( is a pre-service education and training program for undergraduate junior and senior social work majors designed to prepare them for employment in Kentucky’s public child welfare services.

The PCWCP at the University of Kentucky (UK) continues to operate under the administrative umbrella of the College of Social Work’s Training Resource Center.  The Participants of this program are exposed to two child welfare courses, 24 hours of training at four Program retreats plus an additional nine days of training in their last semester. Both of their practicum placements, accounting for 640 hours on-site in two semesters, are spent with the Commonwealth’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department of Community Based Services, Protection and Permanency units.

This collaborative effort between the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and eleven public and private universities is a comprehensive and thorough preparation that is meant to ensure competent and confident workers.  Statewide, the retention rate for participants who continue two years or more beyond their initial two-year commitment to employment with the Cabinet is approximately 85%.

To be eligible for PCWCP, students must be enrolled or eligible for enrollment as a full-time social work student with an overall cumulative grade point average of 2.5, a 3.0 in all Social Work courses, and a solid commitment to the work of public child welfare services. Students must complete an application process as well as a formal interview with a committee. Once admitted to the Program, students take coursework and CHFS training equivalent to that given new employees in their first six months of employment and complete internships in local Protection and Permanency units.

The students’ (in-state) tuition and a stipend are paid by Cabinet for Health and Family Services for each of their last three or four semesters in the Program. Upon graduation, the students are obligated to work for two years in KY’s Children and Family Services local offices, where they might do the work of child protection Intake, Investigations, On-going (treatment), Foster Care, Permanency Planning, Adoptions or Juvenile Services.

At the end of its eighteenth year in June 2015, the statewide PCWCP consortium had proudly graduated over 800 of Kentucky’s “brightest and best” social work majors.  Those graduates have joined Child Welfare workers to provide informed and conscientious service to those Kentucky families who have need of Child Welfare services.  With their BSW degrees, child welfare courses, CHFS training, and on-site agency experience, they are well prepared for this challenging career.

To learn more and to obtain an application for the program, please contact:

PCWCP, UKY, TRC, UK, COSW, UKCOSW, College of Social Work, Child Welfare Certification, Training Resource Center

Erin Mayhorn -


Public Child Welfare Certification Program Coordinator