Social work, designated as one of the nation’s fastest growing career categories, is a unique helping profession. Different from psychology and counseling, social work addresses societal problems, such as racism and injustice, as well as individual and family problems.
The Columbia College social work major offers students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, values and skills necessary for generalist practice. The major builds upon the liberal arts base required for all students at Columbia College. Courses required for the major address such areas as ethics, human behavior, social policy, social work practice (assessment, interviewing, intervention) and research. A minor is also available.
Social work majors are required to complete a two-semester field placement during their senior year. Placements are chosen based on areas of interest determined by the student. Examples of internship sites include Three Rivers Behavioral Heath System, S.C. Department of Mental Health, Morris Village, The Nurturing Center, South Carolina Department of Social Services, Senior Resources, and the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice.
Accreditation and Graduate Study
The social work major at Columbia College is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body for both baccalaureate and masters level social work programs. Columbia College only offers an undergraduate degree in Social Work. Columbia College does not offer a Masters in Social Work. Because the Columbia College program is accredited, students are eligible for advanced standing status at many Masters of Social Work (MSW) programs, including two universities in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina and Winthrop University. Admission to advanced standing essentially means the student exempts the first year of the two-year master’s program. Other graduates have pursued degrees in law, public administration, and education.
The Child Welfare Certificate
The Division of Behavioral Studies and Human Inquiry also offers a certificate in Child Welfare for students interested in working with vulnerable children and families. The certificate is a great compliment to Social Work and Psychology majors, but is not limited to only these students. Columbia College participated in an earlier partnership with other colleges and universities in the state and the South Carolina Department of Social Services to educate and prepare BSW and MSW students for public child welfare practice. Although the statewide partnership no longer formally exists, the Division of Behavioral Studies and Human Inquiry at Columbia College decided to continue to offer a certificate of completion for students who meet certain requirements.
What is Public Child Welfare?
The goal of public child welfare is to strengthen families and ensure safety, permanency, and well being for all children. It encompasses child protection, foster care and alternative care for children, and adoption programs. Child protective services are provided to support and stabilize families that may be experiencing social and economic problems in meeting their children’s needs. When it is not possible for families to remain together, alternative placements through foster care or adoption may be necessary. Working in child welfare may involve doing assessments and investigations; engaging families in case planning; working with other agencies, courts, and community members; and placing and monitoring children in out of home settings.
Requirements for Public Child Welfare Certificate
Students who take two child welfare elective courses and obtain at least a B average can receive the certificate of completion.
- Social Work 312 – Child Maltreatment and Family Preservation
- Social Work 314 – Out of Home Care and Permanency Planning
Although not required to receive the certificate, Social Work students who complete a field placement in a child welfare unit at a South Carolina Department of Social Services office will be recognized on the certificate as having met this field experience.
Dr. Shirley Huisman, Social Work Program Coordinator
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