Community Placement and Practicum Requirements

In accordance with the California Association of Social Work Deans and Directors Principles for Ethical Placement of Social Work Students, our social work program recognizes that the opportunity to practice skills directly under observation, with feedback from a master instructor/practitioner, along with peer interaction and dialogue provides optimum learning.

All approved social work Placements will have an identified Community instructor who holds a social work degree from a CSWE accredited institution, available for regular supervision and for consultation in emergencies. If an onsite social worker is not available, the site must provide an onsite instructor from a very closely related discipline, or with direct expertise in the area of practice in a very closely related discipline, or with direct expertise in the area of practice, available for direct training, weekly supervision, and emergencies. Supplemental weekly supervision with a social worker who possesses CSWE required credentials is then required.

All community placement sites must complete a formal placement agreement document between the organization and Cal Poly Humboldt. This agreement includes clear expectations for placements and supervision, as well as documentation related to liability and insurance levels. These agreements are not specific to a particular student and can be multi-year agreements.

All placements must be approved by the Director of Community Placement and Practicum. All Community Supervisors will receive training and ongoing support regarding integration of social work competencies and behaviors as well as program specific expectations and guidelines.

Prior to beginning any community placement, all students participate in orientation sessions. These sessions are mandatory and will be offered to both students and their community supervisor. These orientations typically occur in the first week of classes and can be counted towards practicum hours for that week with approval from the placement supervisor.

Community placement orientations provide an overview of internship requirements and an opportunity for questions and answers. Topics include: getting started, how to develop your learning agreement and the importance of quality supervision.  BASW DL students will be provided on-line opportunities for their community placement orientation. MSW DL Students will have community placement orientation materials and activities integrated into their coursework during the summer prior to their practicum start date.

Students must be enrolled in their Practicum Seminar coursework during the time of the community placement. The University provides professional and general liability coverage for students through the Student Professional Liability Insurance Program (SPLIP), via fees associated with these courses. The faculty leading the Practicum Seminar will meet with the student and their supervisor a minimum of 2-3 times during the course of the Practicum, and additionally as needed, to address any concerns or challenges that may arise. The Department will try to schedule at least one in-person site visit for students placed out-of-county, with 2-3 phone or web conferences being scheduled in addition.

For additional guidelines and documents regarding evaluation, concerns and potential practicum termination, please review the current Community Placement Handbook.