Looking for a career in public child welfare? CWTAP may be right for you!
CWTAP offers specialized educational seminars and tuition assistance to students accepted into the BASW/MSW program who are interested in working in public child welfare.
- Promotes professionalization and recruitment of social workers in public child welfare across Washington State.
- Subsidizes the cost of the CWTAP student’s BASW (partial) or MSW education. In return, after graduation students will work for the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) for an equal amount of time they received financial assistance.
- Provides educational seminars, mentoring support and clinical supervision to accepted CWTAP students.
- Offers professional development opportunities through the annual Student Institute.
- Assists CWTAP students in gaining employment with the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
CWTAP is a federally funded partnership between the University of Washington Seattle, the University of Washington Tacoma, Eastern Washington University, and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).
Quotes from Alumni
Learn more about CWTAP from former students:
CWTAP offers a comprehensive educational and practicum experience in Washington State’s public child welfare including:
- Monthly full day seminars on public child welfare topics including:
- Recognizing and investigating child abuse and neglect
- Safety assessment, comprehensive family assessment and case planning
- Permanency planning – reunification, guardianships and adoption
- Racial Disproportionality and Cultural Sensitivity
- Indian Child Welfare
- Family Court Systems and Testifying
- Forensic Interviewing in sexual abuse and serious physical abuse cases
- Substance Abuse
- Mental Health
- Domestic Violence
- Public Child Welfare Policy and Practice
- Coordinated practicums with the Department of Children, Youth and Families for hands-on casework experience. This field experience focuses on public child welfare programs such as:
- Child Protective Services (CPS) –Investigations and Family Assessment Response (FAR)
- Family Voluntary Services (FVS)
- Child & Family Welfare Services (CFWS) – out of home placement cases
- Family Reconciliation Services (FRS)
- Assignment of a CWTAP field instructor to support the student’s education and transfer of learning from the BASW or MSW programs to application in public child welfare.
- Financial assistance for current and potential DCYF social workers.
MSW: How to Apply
For MSW applicants
BASW: How to Apply
For BASW students
Frequently Asked Questions
Currently in Washington, there are three CWTAP programs:
CWTAP is designed for:
- Students accepted into the BASW program or MSW program who are interested in making a career commitment to public child welfare.
- DCYF employees interested in obtaining a BASW or MSW to enhance their knowledge and skills in delivering services to families and children.
- DSHS/state employees interested in obtaining a BASW or MSW degree and making a career commitment to public child welfare.
The Annual CWTAP Student Institute is a collaboration of the Child Welfare Training & Advancement Programs from all three participating universities (Eastern Washington University, University of Washington Seattle, and University of Washington Tacoma) and the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
The Institute provides student-centered learning and networking opportunities in an atmosphere of mutual support and peer education. Students present on topics that directly relate to professional child welfare practice and the mission and goals of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. The Institute also offers opportunities for collaboration and networking with some of the State's most highly-regarded leaders in child welfare.
- Rick Butt, Director
- Susan Welk, Program Coordinator
- Moniquetra Slater, CWTAP Field Instructor
- Mahealani Kalilikane, CWTAP Field Instructor
- Hermenia Butler, CWTAP Field Instructor
- Whitney Miller, CWTAP Field Instructor
- Lindsey Phillips, CWTAP Field Instructor
Rick Butt, Director
Rick Butt, MSW
Director, Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP)
Rick has over 34 years of child welfare practice and management experience working in British Columbia, Canada, California and Washington. His expertise includes adolescent development and transitioning issues, leadership development, community engagement and partnership, policy and program development and implementation, and fiscal and contractual accountability.
He currently is the Director for the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Prior to this position he was the Region 3 Director for the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence. Rick was also the statewide Independent Living Program Manager with DSHS Children's Administration. In this position he successfully implemented Passion to Action – the Department of Children, Youth and Families' first (and only) statewide youth advisory board. This board brought “authentic youth voice” into the development and implementation of policies and procedures affecting child welfare practice in Washington State. Rick also led the successful implementation of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) bringing Washington State to the forefront as one of the leaders in the country for NYTD implementation.
Rick is very passionate about adolescents and transitioning youth. He is a strong ally and advocate in making sure all youth in foster care are given the necessary tools to be successful in adulthood.
Susan Welk, Program Coordinator
Program Coordinator, CWTAP
As the Program Coordinator with CWTAP at the UW Tacoma, Susan provides administrative support to the Director, four Field Instructors and assists with a wide range of office operations. She began her career with the University of Washington Seattle, School of Social Work as a Program Coordinator for Partners for Our Children (POC) for 2 years and then began as Program Coordinator with CWTAP in 2010. Prior to this, Susan worked at the Department of Children, Youth and Families (King County) first as a Paralegal and then Administrative Assistant for 12 years. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for child welfare and social work that continues to this day. Watching students pursue their dreams of working in the social work profession is the highlight of her work with CWTAP. Susan has a 29 year old daughter, loves football, baseball and reading.
Moniquetra Slater, CWTAP Field Instructor
Moniquetra Slater, MSW
CWTAP Field Instructor
Moniquetra Slater, MSW is one of four Field Instructors for the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) here at UW Tacoma. She is both proud and honored to be able to work for CWTAP and the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and believes this is her way of giving back to the programs that helped to mold and develop her social work career. Ms. Slater graduated from UW Tacoma in 2008 with her Masters of Social Work degree and was a CWTAP graduate herself. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, where she also completed minors in Sociology and Religion. Ms. Slater has been working with children and families since 2002, including work as a Children’s Mental Health Counselor and as a Child Welfare Social Worker with the State of Washington. During her time with the State Ms. Slater worked in the following programs: Family Voluntary Services, Tribal Payment Liaison, Adoptions, Child and Family Welfare Services, and in Indian Child Welfare as both a front-line worker and supervisor.
Ms. Slater is very passionate about providing best-practice services to children and families. This involves working diligently to build appropriate rapport and effectively engaging with everyone who has a vested interest in the success of the family.
“Children and families need to know that you care, not only by hearing us say it, but by showing them through our efforts to improve their situation. One must work consistently to diminish the inherent power imbalance that the helping professional has over the case plan by incorporating both the client’s own needs and personal concerns in order for a successful, lasting resolution to occur.”
-M. Slater, MSW 2016
Ms. Slater is a staunch advocate for UW Tacoma students, the campus as a whole, and the surrounding communities. She believes her current role is both an honor and privilege, affording her an opportunity to serve & encourage others with like desires to make positive change in society. Ms. Slater is hopeful that her status as a BIPOC woman & educator will help to encourage current/future students to aspire to be on the front lines of social change.
Ms. Slater’s interests include equitable and inclusive public child welfare practices, investing in childhood resiliency, supporting appropriate & adequate community mental health services, and active participation in social advocacy efforts (especially those that affect the BIPOC community). She is the proud dog-mom to a 130-lb. pit-bull mix named Seamus, who is definitely the light of her life. Her 5-year goals include: Learning to actively incorporate more mindfulness activities into all of her daily routines and achieving a licensed independent clinical social worker status.
Mahealani Kalilikane, CWTAP Field Instructor
Mahealani Kalilikane, MSW
CWTAP Field Instructor
Mahealani (pronounced MAH-HAY-YAH-LAH-KNEE) Kalilikane graduated from University of Hawaii at Hilo in 2001 with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Communication and then completed a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2005. She began her social work profession in 1994 working with foster care youth in a non-profit agency in Hawaii, and then moved to Tacoma, Washington where she continued to work with the foster care population. Ms. Kalilikane began her work with Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Department of Children, Youth and Families in 2004 and held social work positions in Child Family Welfare Services, Child Health Education Tracking, Afterhours and Adoption.
Ms. Kalilikane joined the University of Washington Tacoma Social Work Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) in June 2015 where she serves as a faculty field instructor for CWTAP students engaged in the achievement of their MSW degree. In her role, she is responsible for educating and training students in the master’s in social work degree program while preparing them to gain and maintain permanent social work positions within the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
Hermenia Butler, CWTAP Field Instructor
Hermenia Butler, MSW
CWTAP Field Instructor
Hermenia Butler earned her BA in Psychology and her MSW from the University of Washington. She is also a graduate of the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP).
Ms. Butler began her social work career over 20 years ago as a counselor at a juvenile rehabilitation facility working with incarcerated youth. After receiving her MSW in 1998, Ms. Butler obtained a job with Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). Over the years, she worked in several programs including Child Protective Services and Child and Family Welfare Services, first as a social worker then CFWS Supervisor, Area Administrator and most recently as the Regional Programs Administrator covering all 13 counties in Region 3. Her expertise includes curriculum development and training to help address the issues of Racial Disproportionality and Father Engagement within the DCYF.
Ms. Butler joined the CWTAP team July 2017.
Whitney Miller, CWTAP Field Instructor
Whitney Miller, MSW
CWTAP Field Instructor
Whitney Miller is a Clinical Social Worker with over a decade of experience advocating for the needs and rights of children and families impacted by various systems to include the public child welfare and healthcare systems.
Whitney completed her undergraduate studies at Saint Martin’s University (BA in Community Services, 2008) and completed her graduate studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. She is a proud CWTAP graduate (MSW, 2012). Professionally, Whitney has worked at the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in various social work programs (Child and Family Welfare Services, Court Filing, and Recovery Court) before transitioning to Pierce County Juvenile Court as a Guardian ad litem and was instrumental in the implementation of the Pierce County Best for Babies Program (now Early Childhood Court). Prior to joining the CWTAP team, she worked for Tacoma General Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) supporting and addressing the needs of families with critically ill infants, many with complex psychosocial situations.
Whitney is committed to addressing racial disparities and implicit bias in systems specifically for pregnant and parenting families. Whitney’s areas of interest include infant mental health, therapeutic interventions for pregnant and parenting families, and advancing clinical skills for public child welfare workers. Whitney is excited to be a part of the program that launched her social work career and to support students pursuing their careers in public child welfare!
Ms. Miller joined the CWTAP team in October 2022.
Lindsey Phillips, CWTAP Field Instructor
Lindsey Phillips, MSW
CWTAP Field Instructor
Lindsey Phillips is one of five Field Instructors for the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) at UW Tacoma. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington State University with a Minor in Sociology in 2009. She began her social worker profession in 2010 working mostly with foster youth through various programs at a local Community Mental Health agency. This included acting as a Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) case manager, Psychiatric Case Aide and Foster Home Licensor. Her engagement with foster youth was a catalyst for Ms. Phillips to further her education to better serve vulnerable youth. With that aspiration in mind, she graduated with her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 2015 from the University of Washington, Tacoma and is a proud alum of the UW T CWTAP program as well.
Ms. Phillips began her work with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in 2015 and held social work positions in Child Family Welfare Services (CFWS), Investigations and Family Assessment Response (FAR) as both a front-line worker and supervisor. Ms. Phillips has a strong commitment to the health and well-being of children and families with special interests in morale and retention efforts for public child welfare social workers.
Ms. Phillips joined the CWTAP team in October 2022.