Bachelor of Social Work - Child Welfare Specialization

Why focus on child welfare while earning my Social Work Degree?

You have a passion for social justice and have always been interested in social issues. You believe in human rights, and working towards a more just society. Of special interest to you are services for children and their families. This specialization will prepare you for child welfare work in government and other settings. Once you’ve successfully completed the core and elective courses, and a fourth-year practicum in the B.C. Ministry of  Children and Family development (or delegated child welfare setting), you will graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree with a transcript notation of your specialization in child welfare.

What type of career can I expect?

As a successful graduate, you’ll be ready to work with individuals, groups, and communities in a variety of settings that are funded by both government and non-government sources. Some of those options include the following:

  • Child welfare and protection (child welfare specialization)
  • Hospitals and health care settings
  • Community and institutional corrections
  • Addictions services
  • Services for women
  • Immigration and cross-cultural services
  • Community services and programs
  • First Nations communities and First Nations child welfare
  • Programs for people with special needs and disabilities
  • Community and health services for the elderly and child welfare

Why earn my BSW - Child Welfare Specialization degree at UFV?

UFV offers a unique program of studies that lead to a Bachelor of Social Work degree. The BSW degree program will prepare you for social work practice that reflects the principles of social justice, equality, and respect for diversity. With a commitment to lifelong learning and a critical analysis of oppression, you will — as a graduate — have the knowledge, skills, and professional social work values necessary to work collaboratively with individuals, families, groups, and communities in diverse and cross-cultural environments. The program contributes to the knowledge base of social work through partnerships with professional and local communities. An important part of the UFV BSW degree is its emphasis on identifying social barriers such as gender, race, and class. These barriers are the basis of inequality and inequitable treatment that prevent people from living to their full potential in a democratic society.

Child welfare focuses on protection of children so that they are safe. Current practices focus on family preservation, and providing supports to keep children in their homes with their family. Family support programs assist parents (who are primarily mothers) to get the help they need to avoid removing the child from the home when possible.  British Columbia is the only province that delivers the Child Welfare Specialization through the universities. The Ministry of Children and Family Development hires BSW graduates with a specialization in Child Welfare as a preferred choice.

Also, an important part of our UFV BSW degree is its emphasis on identifying social barriers such as gender, race, and class. These are the basis of inequality and inequitable treatment, and they prevent people from living to their full potential in a democratic society. Based on egalitarian ideals, social work is dedicated to the promotion of individual, family and community development, and seeks to ensure people have access to other economic, political and social resources that promote participation and self-determination. To achieve these aims, social workers advocate for social change and social justice in the belief that the basic and continuing improvement of social conditions is fundamental to individual and family growth and development.

The BSW program has a full seven-year accreditation with the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).

Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work Education (CASWE)

I'm still in high school. Can I apply to this program?

Not yet. UFV’s BSW program is designed specifically for entry at the third-year level, after you’ve completed 60 credits. To qualify, those credits must include some specific course work and arts and sciences. It’s best to check the Academic Calendar for complete details on entrance requirements.

What are the entrance requirements?

You must have successfully completed Introduction to Social Work and Human Services (SOWK 110) and Social Welfare (SOWK 210), or have an equivalent six credits. We also require that you have a minimum of 60 general university-transfer Arts and Science credits that may be applied to the BSW graduation requirements, with a GPA of 2.67. These 60 credits must include the following:  

  • three credits of course work in English composition and (i.e. CMNS 155) 
  • three credits of course work in English literature (i.e. ENGL 108) 
  • three credits of Human Development (i.e. PSYC 250 or SOWK 225) 
  • three credits of Introductory Statistics (i.e. MATH 104 or PSYC 110) 
  • three credits of Sociology of the Family.(i.e. SOC 331 or SOWK 283)

I'm currently enrolled in the Social Services diploma program. Can I transfer my credits towards this degree?

Absolutely. Our Social Services diploma program is a two-year career-oriented program that prepares students to enter the workforce at the para-professional level. As a graduate of this diploma program, you may be eligible to receive up to 54 credits that will apply to the BSW program.

These 54 credits are made up of specific course work and qualifying arts and science electives. You must also be committed to the profession of social work, provide a Criminal Records Review Program Clearance Letter, and have at least 400 hours of recent, supervised volunteer or work experience in the human services field. All applicants must be willing and able to uphold the Social Work Code of Ethics and have an aptitude for working with people and in a capacity for social analysis.

When should I apply?

The BSW intake occurs the fall semester. Applications must be received by January 31 of the  same year. Prior to application, all admission requirements must be  met.

What are the courses I will take?

Below is a basic program outline of the Bachelor of Social Work Degree – Child Welfare Specialization (years three and four):

Third Year - Fall Semester
Course #Title
SOWK 300 Social Work Practice with Individuals
SOWK 311 Social Work Theory & Ethics
SOWK 312 Legal Knowledge for Social Work Practice
SOWK 320 Anti-Racist and Cross-Cultural Social Work Knowledge and Practice
SOWK 394 Substance Misuse Issues


Third Year - Winter Semester
Course #Title
SOWK 330 Practicum I
SOWK 380 Community Development
SOWK 392 Aboriginal Social Work


Fourth Year - Fall Semester
Course #Title
SOWK 404 Research Methods and Evaluation
SOWK 410 Social Welfare Policy & Practice
SOWK 412 Legal Skills for Social Work Practice
SOWK 483 Family-centered Social Work
SOWK 491 Child Welfare


Fourth Year - Winter Semester
Course #Title
SOWK 430 Practicum II
SOWK 496 Disability Issues
or SOWK 497 Social Work and Mental Health

Can I get academic credit for the skills and knowledge that I have gained in my life so far? 

Yes. UFV offers Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), a flexible assessment process that evaluates your experiential learning (what you already know and can do) for post-secondary credit. Experiential learning includes independent study, volunteer activities, non-credit courses, workplace learning, and military service. To find out more, check out the PLAR website or contact the PLAR Coordinator at

What sort of support will I get?

While earning your BSW, there may be times when you need to seek program advice or just get some helpful information. Our program advisor will work with you to ensure you have the correct resources, information, and advice that will guide you throughout your program of study.

UFV BSW and MSW students are members of the Social Work Student Association, a student organization that strives to support, represent, and advocate for students in the BSW and MSW degree programs. The SWSA meets regularly and provides a forum for students to voice their concerns, make suggestions, and socialize with peers. SWSA also acts as an important communication link with the school and faculty.

For more information about support and student services at UFV, visit Student Services to learn about the broad range of services designed to help you learn about and adjust to the university environment. 

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