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Field Experience: School of Social Work: Locating an Agency

Locating An Agency

To enrich your experience, the field office offers you the opportunity to actively participate in the selection of your field placement. This is a time for you to explore your community, familiarize yourself with local social service agencies, and locate agencies of interest for possible field placements.

Your Steps:

1. Understand the difference between Foundation (BSW) tasks and Concentration tasks*:  It is required for you to have direct in-person contact with clients.  

Tasks

MSW Foundation Year and BSW

MSW Concentration Year

Micro

(Individuals)

Non-Clinical Intakes

Needs Assessments

Case Management

Resource Referral

Clinical Intakes

Clinical Case Management

Clinical Mental Health Assessments Using DSM-V

Evidence-Based Therapeutic Intervention

Treatment Planning

Mezzo

(Families, Groups)

Family Supportive Services

Psycho-Educational Groups

 

Family Therapy

Therapeutic Groups

Inter-Professional Team Collaboration

Macro

(Organizations and Communities)

Community and/or Political Advocacy

Research Projects

Program Development

Community Partners Collaboration

Community Outreach

Social Policy Initiatives

Community and/or Political Advocacy

Research Projects

Program Development

Community Partners Collaboration

*This is not a comprehensive list.

2. Download the Locating a Field Placement Agency document below.

3. Explore your community and greater area; familiarize yourself with local social service agencies.

4. When you reach out to agencies of interest, verify whether they accept MSW or BSW interns. If so, locate a contact person, their number, and email address.

5. Keep track of your Field Site contacts using the Field Agency Contact Record below.

6. You will submit your Lead Agency Form to the Field Office (through Meditrek) once your application is approved. The Lead Agency Form identifies your first agency of choice. Make sure that the agency does have a potential opportunity during the time-frame you need it and that they are willing to consider you for placement.

7. Once you have identified your agency of choice on the Lead Agency Form (LAF), your assigned field coordinator will reach out to the agency to inquire about the appropriateness of the placement.  If your first agency selection does not meet the criteria, you'll work with your field coordinator to provide other options from your community search.  

  • You are allowed to follow up with the agency on any required processes. These may include applications, interviews, physicals, TB tests, etc.

NOTE:  It's important that you partner with your Field Coordinator throughout the placement process.  It's also important to utilize all the resources provided. 

If you are a full-time or part-time student, who is NOT advanced standing, you will be required to complete both a Foundation Year and a Concentration (Clinical) Year placement.

Following are resource sheets separated by the four concentrations students can use in identifying potential sites for their Concentration Field Experience.

Some Field Experience Organizations require that the internship and/or legal contract be initiated earlier than the Field Office’s process. When this occurs, our Field Office reviews these requests on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate process. If this is something you encounter, please see your next steps in the process below.

  1. Research the site on the internet or through networking
  2. Contact the organization to determine the following:
    • Confirm there are internship opportunities that match your program of study.
    • Confirm there is an MSW with 2 years of post-graduate degree professional experience to provide supervision.
    • Ask about the availability for an MSW internship.
    • If there are appropriate opportunities and the organization states they need to begin the process early, obtain the following information:
      • Site Name, Address
      • Contact Name, Email Address, Phone Number
      • Any additional helpful information, which you can provide in the Early Outreach Process Request Form.
  3. Open the Form (https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/emf/mswearlyoutreachform/1) and complete all pertinent areas.
  4. Please note: The MSW Field Experience Office reviews each individual request. This process does not guarantee the placement will be approved or secured.
  5. A member from the MSW Field Experience Team will be in contact within 2 business days to further review your request and/or to begin the process.

 

If you have any questions, please contact our office at: mswfield@mail.waldenu.edu

Disclaimer

This database includes all the active agreements that Walden University has with various field sites for programs throughout the university. Walden actively pursues affiliation agreements with new field sites whenever possible, so please contact the appropriate field experience representative for your program to discuss options if your desired field site is not listed here.

Some field sites may not be appropriate for some programs/specializations and an active agreement between Walden and the field site will not require a site to take on any particular Walden student, as space and programs may be limited. You will need to work directly with the field site to ensure their willingness and ability to take you on as a student during the quarter that aligns with your course.

You will need to complete the application process as required for your program as the presence of an active agreement with a field site does not imply an automatic approval of your field experience plans.

Important points about the AA database:

  • The database includes all the active agreements that Walden University has with various field sites for programs throughout the University. This means that there are agreements in the database only for specific programs (nursing, counseling, etc.) that do not apply to the MSW program.
  • Although an active partnership may be in place with a field site, this does not mean the field site is an appropriate MSW field site. Your assigned field coordinator will verify the site has turned in all appropriate documents and meets field criteria before any MSW placement approval can be granted.
  • An active agreement does not require a site to support a Walden student with a field placement, as space and programs may be limited.

How to use the database:

  1. Login to Meditrek and select “Search Affiliation Agreements”
    1. If you do not yet have an account email the Field Office to request one be created.  You can reach us at MSWField@mail.waldenu.edu.
  2. Select the appropriate categories to narrow your search and reduce your risk of pursuing sites that are not eligible to partner with you for your MSW Field Experience.
    1.  Categories to select: school, program, and state
  3. Review the list of agencies currently partnered to develop a list of your own to follow up with.
    1.  Review the agency’s website to see if it seems they offer tasks and MSW supervision needed for your field experience.
    2.  Call the agency to verify if they are interested in partnering.
  4. If you do not see any agencies on the list in your area, you can look up other sites in or near your community to request placement with. If you find positive leads, submit your Lead Agency Form so that your coordinator can reach out to the site to see if a partnership might be established. Walden actively pursues affiliation agreements with new field sites whenever possible.

Your initial steps to find a lead agency:

  • You will need to work directly with the field site to ensure their willingness and ability to take you on as a student during the quarters that align with your field course.
  • You will need to complete the application process as required for the MSW program as the presence of an active agreement with a field site does not imply an automatic approval of your field experience plans.
    • See tab “applying to Field” regarding the application process for the MSW program

Assistance finding a site:

If you are struggling to find a site, please review the resources listed under the tabs “Steps for Locating an Agency” and “Tip Sheets for Agency Search.”  After you research your community using the support documents and call sites in your community, you may reach out to your Field Coordinator to seek follow up support.  It will be important you track your agency reach outs in a document to provide to your coordinator upon seeking assistance.

Worksite Placements

It is recommended that students not be placed in agencies where they are employed. The familiarity of a student’s workplace often creates issues for students who are in a Field Experience to learn new skills while trying to satisfy employer and work demands.

In certain circumstances, students may be allowed an employment-based field experience. The following policies apply to employment-based Field Experiences:

1. The tasks proposed for the student must meet the competency requirements for the student’s level of learning.

2. The supervisor must be able to communicate how the tasks meet those competencies and how the student will have opportunities for new learning.

3. The employer and supervisor must agree to the terms of the placement and learning expectations.

4. The student should have worked at the site for at least 6 months to ensure they are past any probationary period.

5. The student understands the unique risks associated with worksite placements and agrees to the terms. Some risks include,

a. Losing a job may result in losing an internship

b. Risk of poor performance as an intern negatively impacts employment (while we expect employers to treat you as a learner and not confuse the roles, there is no guarantee this will happen).

c. By choosing a worksite placement, you may not have as many new learning opportunities or have the opportunity to learn something outside the context of your worksite.

An agency that is providing a field experience for an employee must meet the same criteria as other field agencies.