Social Work Certificate Course in Child Protective Services

The Texas Permanency Outcomes Project
The Social Work Certificate in Child Protection Services is awarded through the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. This certificate is designed for Child Protective Services employees at the Department of Family and Protective Services, Single Source Continuum Contractors, and related agencies who are taking on child protection roles. As this is a more specialized certificate, participants in this certificate program are encouraged to complete the Child Welfare Services Certificate as well.


Post-certificate survey – All individuals admitted to the program will be asked to complete a 20 minute post-training survey after completing all courses.

Prerequisite courses – See list of prerequisite courses.

Certificate program at a glance:

Social Work Certificate in Child Protection Services

For professionals working at the Department of Family Protective Services in Texas.

Hybrid classes:

12 hours of pre-requisites
(5 online, 7 in-person)
6.5 hours of certificate courses
(1 online, 5.5 in-person)

Regional cohort enrollment includes:

An online learning community
In-person courses taught in 2-3 day workshops
CEUs for all course hours

Child Protection Coursework


  • Understand paternalism and the role it plays in Child Welfare
  • Define collaboration and partnership as it relates to working with children and families
  • Explore the dynamics of sharing power with families

Time: 1-hour in-person course


  • Define the core principles of family engagement in the context of child welfare practice
  • Begin to understand how to integrate the skillful use of authority with the principles of family engagement
  • Identify new ways to partner with families without sacrificing child safety

Time: 1-hour in-person course


  • Explore how to shift the paradigm around assessing risk with families in child welfare
  • Begin learning to use solution-focused and strengths-based strategies to gather balanced information about worries, strengths, and safety.

Time: 1-hour in-person course


  • Define networks, as it relates to working with children and families
  • Understand the power of nonprofessional networks
  • Explore how to help families build networks, common challenges faced, and approaches for navigating through those challenges

Time: 1-hour in-person course


  • Define the key components of an effective safety plan
  • Understand the importance of asking good questions when developing safety plans with families
  • Explore how to measure a family’s progress on their safety plan

Time: 1-hour online course


  • Understand how shame is present for professionals and families in the child welfare system
  • Identify one’s personal and professional values and identify the specific behaviors that align with those values
  • Begin to understand how values clarification is essential to the development of resiliency

Time: 1.5-hour in-person course


When you enroll in the certificate program, you also gain access to an online learning community and knowledge bank that includes discussion boards and resources to help you put what you learn into practice. 

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TXPOP will provide trainings and support to professionals working in child welfare with the development of a professional certificate in child welfare from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. TXPOP is also developing a multimedia campaign for caregivers on how to engage families and ensure that the child’s voice is at the heart of the work.

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