Fieldwork and Internship Opportunities
In social work education, internships are called field practicum. Field practicum experience is required by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) and is considered the “signature pedagogy” in social work higher education. The intensive field practicum experience allows students to obtain licensure immediately after graduating with a social work degree. With this emphasis, students spend a significant amount of time in field practicum experiences. Students are actively engaged in social work practice with clients in an agency setting for approximately 15-18 hours per week in a two-semester sequence (fall/spring only).
- Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) students complete 450 hours of field practicum
- First Year/Foundation Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) students complete 400 hours of field practicum
- Second Year/Advanced Standing MSSW students complete 500 hours of field practicum
While ACU partners with over 40 agencies throughout the Abilene and State of Texas, this brief list and links below provide a sample of the diversity within social work field practicum experience.
BCFS Health and Human Services Abilene Transition Center
BCFS is a “one-stop shop” for young adults, male and female, ages 15 – 25 living in Abilene and surrounding counties. Services provided include case management, counseling, life skills training, and other support services. The transition center provides youth assistance in seeking housing, education, and employment. The ATC works in conjunction with local government, non-profit agencies, schools, and other community organizations to ensure comprehensive, unduplicated services that help young adults become self-sufficient and productive citizens in the communities in which they live. (http://www.discoverbcfs.net/Abilene)
Betty Hardwick Center: A Community MH/IDD Resource
The Betty Hardwick Center provides outpatient mental health services to adults, children and teens, and/or those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Students can gain experience in crisis intervention, case management, and clinical therapeutic interventions. Depending on current degree held and prior experience, interns may have the opportunity to be credentialed as a qualified mental health professional (QMHP). (http://www.bhcmhmr.org/)
Communities In Schools of the Big Country
The mission of CIS is to “surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” CIS focuses on student achievement in academics, attendance and behavior with the goal of high school graduation. CIS staff are housed on each of the five campuses served and work directly with teachers, school administrators, and other staff. Interns obtain a caseload and work directly with campus coordinators as well as various school staff members to identify risk factors, with the goal of reducing student dropout. There are two primary risk areas that CIS interns target: homelessness and attendance. Interns may have the opportunity to facilitate groups, coordinate tutoring, and assist in the creation of new programs to help meet kids' basic needs. Interns also gain experience in areas related to case management, mentoring, and social services. (http://www.cisbigcountry.org)
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
IRC provides emergency relief, care, and assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. Interns work directly with refugees who have just entered the country and assist them in locating basic needs including housing, food, transportation, and employment as well as helping refugees complete the immigration process. Students may note their specific interest and focus in Case Management, Employment, Immigration, or Fundraising but there is no guarantee of placement in a specific area. (http://www.rescue.org/us-program/us-dallas-tx/programs)
Regional Victims Crisis Center (RVCC)
RVCC is designated by the Office of the Attorney General of Texas as an emergency responder to support law enforcement by providing crisis intervention and on-going emotional support, counseling, and information to victims of violent crime. Individual professional counseling provided by licensed staff and Primary Prevention Education (anti-bullying) reduces violence in the community through public awareness and education. Interns are required to complete the 40 Hour Victim Advocate training which includes the Office of Victims of Crime online training in addition to the in office experiential training. Interns, as Certified Victim Advocates, are then required to sign-up for a minimum of three on-call shifts per month. Students will be required to attend additional certifications through the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and our Primary Prevention Curriculums. Students will assist in School Groups, Nurturing Parenting Groups, PEACE groups, Professional Education Training, Community Awareness and Resource Groups and multiple collaborations. (http://www.regionalcrime.org/)