The goal of the FIP is to prepare undergraduate students in social work and other related fields for successful careers in public child welfare, to increase caseworker retention, and to improve outcomes for children and families in Maine. The FIP is a partnership between the Maine Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS), the University of Southern Maine’s Catherine Cutler Institute, and Social Work/Human Services programs at participating University of Maine System campuses: UMO, UMPI, USM, UMA.

Students who are admitted to the FIP receive: 

  • A financial stipend based on the completion of program components 
  • A meaningful career pathway and realistic job preparation leading up to potential employment 
  • Dedicated mentorship, supervision, and hands-on experience in the field of public child welfare 
  • Opportunities to co-learn with fellow OCFS interns 

Students who are admitted to the FIP agree to: 

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree program in social work or a related field, including child welfare-related coursework, and remain in good academic standing throughout the program
  • Successfully complete the 20-hour per week internship at a Maine OCFS office, which includes new Caseworker Foundations Training during the field placement year
  • Apply for and accept full-time employment with OCFS post-graduation, if offered, (which may require relocation), and remain employed for at least one year 

How to apply: 

  1. Please ask your Field Coordinator about getting ready to apply for the 2024-25 academic year. You must be accepted into a BSW/Human Services program or another major that qualifies for social work licensure in Maine before applying to the FIP.
  2. Talk with your department’s field coordinator during the fall semester of your junior year or sooner to discuss your interest in child welfare, and make sure you’re on the right track to participate. 
  3. Submit your completed application. Application materials include:
    • Unofficial academic transcripts
    • Online application including a statement of interest
    • Three references
    • Letter of recommendation (optional)
  4. Upon a successful review of your application materials, you will be asked to complete an interview process with OCFS. Acceptance notifications will go out in February and March. Field placement internships with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child and Family Services will begin in September.
  5. The FIP is designed as a year-long internship. Fall and Spring semester-only interns may also apply.
  6. Priority applications are due January 31, 2024. Late applications will be considered on a rolling basis.