Field Work Internship

In accordance with the Council on Social Work Education's Educational (CSWE) Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS), the Field Work Internship is designed to provide student interns with the opportunity to integrate their classroom curricula knowledge and synthesize this knowledge within their field settings. Student interns work with clients and client systems to provide professional social work services. In keeping with the generalist practice frameworks, student interns apply basic knowledge and skills to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate a clients' and client systems' progress. Drawing from the social work generalist practice frameworks, student interns apply theories on the micro, mezzo and macro levels. Some theories that shape their practice include: systems theory, ecological systems model (person-in-the-environment), strength-based model, empowerment model, bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective, developmental\life cycle theory and Maslow's hierarchy of needs framework. In the practice settings these frameworks foster the implementation of evidence-informed practice.

The placement procedures begin the semester prior to the field work internship.

The Social Work Program at Lewis University offers a 450 hour Fall or Spring Semester Block placement. Student interns are required to complete 450 clock hours in the field setting (Average 29 hours per week in a 16 week semester). Field Interns - 2012The hours and days of the field work internship schedule are generally arranged with the agency field work instructor and the student. Some agencies require the use of a car. It is in the student's last semester when they enroll in the following two courses, 78-497 Field Work Seminar and 78-498 Field Work Internship, where they continue to master CSWE competencies and practice behaviors that they demonstrate throughout the program that define professional social work.

The Department of Social Work Field Work Program has partnerships with many social service agencies and not for profit organizations that provide for a range of field opportunities. In collaboration with the Field Education Director, Field Instructor and student intern, they complete a Field Work Learning Contract that includes the CSWE's competencies and practice behaviors. Professional tasks and assignments are assigned to ensure that student interns follow generalist practice frameworks and apply their knowledge base to the client and client systems on micro, mezzo, and macro levels. The social work profession incorporates multiple theories that are applied to various system levels. The Learning Contract serves as a guide to the student intern's final evaluation and grade.

Field Work/Placements

The Field Work Setting provides the optimum environment in which the theoretical and conceptual contributions of the classroom can connect as they foster the implementation of evidence informed practice. The following section describes service areas of several of organizations who in partnership with the Social Work Field Work Program provide internship opportunities. These service areas include:

  • Adoption/Foster Care
  • Aging/Gerontology
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Organization
  • Corrections
  • Development Disabilities
  • Domestic Violence
  • Education
  • Family and Youth Services
  • Food Pantry
  • Health Care
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Mental Health
  • Prevention
  • Public Welfare
  • Rehabilitation
  • Residential
  • Schools
  • Sexual Assault Services
  • Shelter Services
  • Substance Abuse Services

Information about specific sites is available from the Field Education Director.

Background Checks, Academic and Professional Requirements

Student interns should be advised that a felony conviction and some misdemeanor convictions may prevent them from being accepted as a student intern, securing employment or sitting for the licensing exam (www.idfpr.com). Most field work organizations will conduct a criminal background check on student interns and employees. In some cases, this may include drug and alcohol screening, health physicals and Child Abuse and Neglect reports (CANTS|SYSIS) by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. All student interns are expected to maintain a 2.0 average throughout their course work. Student interns are informed of the criteria for evaluating academic and professional performance.

All social work majors must adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics. Any student intern who is found guilty of violating any ethical standards will be subject to a formal reprimand and face possible dismissal from the program. Upon graduation and working for three years under the supervision of a Licensed Social Worker, or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, graduates are eligible to sit for the Illinois License Social Work exam (LSW).

For more information regarding the Baccalaureate Social Work Program or the Field Work Seminar and the Field Work Internship, contact:

Barbara A. Nichols, M.B.A., M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Professor and Field Education Director
(815) 836-5490
nicholba@lewisu.edu