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Strengthening Children, Youth and Families

Promoting physical, social and emotional wellness for children, youth and their families.

Students in the Strengthening Children, Youth and Families ("SCYF") specialization area are prepared for leadership to support families in raising healthy children. 

SCYF students acquire a full range of individual, family, group, and community intervention strategies and practice skills used with and on behalf of children and families. Specialized training provides state-of-the-art knowledge for effective multilevel practice with vulnerable children, adolescents, and families.

Field Placements

SCYF students develop advanced practice and leadership skills through 1,100+ hours of hands-on experiential learning available at over 40 agencies in the highly diverse San Francisco Bay Area. Field placement settings include foster care and adoption; protective services; day care; family preservation; juvenile justice; special education; child health and nutrition; income maintenance; public and private agencies that provide services through referral by child welfare agencies; schools; and nonprofit family service agencies.

Sample SCYF Field Placements

Alameda County Family Justice Center
Alameda County Social Services Agency
Alternative Family Services
Berkeley Unified School District
Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco
Brighter Beginnings
Casey Family Programs
East Bay Agency for Children
East Bay Children's Law Office
Fred Finch Youth Center

Huckleberry Youth Programs
Oakland Unified School District
San Francisco Unified School District
Seneca Family of Agencies
Superior Court of California, Alameda County
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals
UCSF Department of Psychiatry
University Health Service
Youth & Family Services of Solano County
Youth Engagement Advocacy Housing (YEAH)

Special Program Options

School Social Work Credential ("PPSC") Program
Social Work with Latinos Certificate (SWLC)

Fellowship and Funding Opportunities

Berkeley Child Welfare Scholars Program
The Berkeley Child Welfare Scholars Program prepares selected MSW students for careers in public child welfare.

Cal-Child Welfare Leadership Training (Cal-CWLT) Program
The Cal-CWLT initiative prepares MSW students for leadership in child welfare practice post-graduation.

Integrated Behavioral Health MSW Stipend Program
Stipend-based training program for students in eligible field placements providing behavioral health services integrated with, co-located with, or closely coordinated with primary care.

Latinx Center of Excellence Stipend Program
Stipend-based training program for students to support field education in a Latinx-serving organization.

Departmental Graduate Fellowships
Jean Allgeyer Family Fellowship; Silda E. Covington Fellowship; Hutto-Patterson Fellowship in School Social Work; Sasha Ikenberg Fellowship; Charles O'Shea Memorial Scholarship; Harry Specht Memorial Graduate Fellowship

  • For more information about fellowships and other financial support resources, please visit our Student Funding page.

SCYF Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),

"employment of child, family, and school social workers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Child and family social workers will be needed to work with families to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families. In schools, more social workers will be needed as student enrollments rise." 

80% of Berkeley Social Welfare graduates find full-time employment within six months of graduation, and over 90% are currently working in social welfare or related careers. Challenging and rewarding leadership positions are available to SCYF MSW graduates in a wide variety of settings for social work with children and families:

Sample Career Possibilities:
Adoption Specialist
Child Welfare Social Worker
Clinical Social Worker
Early Intervention Specialist
Family Assessment Social Worker
Family Support Specialist
Foster Care Social Worker
Juvenile Officer
School Social Worker
Youth Advocate
Youth Services Specialist

Sample Job Settings:
Community-based Organizations
Community Health Centers
County Child Welfare/Social Services Agencies
Domestic Violence Programs & Shelters
Family Service Agencies
Group Homes
Health Care Systems
Military Bases & Hospitals
Residential Treatment Programs & Facilities
State & Local Government Agencies

SCYF Connections

California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP)
California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC)

MSW Admissions | MSW Program Overview