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DCFS Academic Internship, University Partnership and Shadow Program

DCFS Academic Internship Program

The Academic Internship Program provides degree-seeking college students with experiences and learning opportunities within the child welfare system. The internship program is open to any college student who is pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Under the supervision of experienced DCFS staff, interns will participate in activities and duties which will provide a great learning experience. The Academic Internship Program offers internships statewide. Each office specializes in a series of duties and specialties, thus interns, if location allows it, will be able to choose what office they work for depending on the specialty of the office. To apply for the Academic Internship Program, students should fill out the online application here. If the application is approved, the student will be sent documents that make up the background check process. The forms must be completed and returned along with two professional letters of recommendation.

For more information, including application deadlines, click here. Students may also email questions to

DCFS University Partnership Program

The University Partnerships Program is a unique collaboration between Illinois DCFS and nine Illinois universities to make the department’s placement curriculum available to students who are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree and want to work in child welfare after graduation. For more information, click here. For a list of courses offered at each university, click  here.

DCFS Shadowing Program

The Illinois DCFS Shadowing Program is a unique two-day experience that pairs eligible college students who would like to learn more about the department with DCFS staff working in the student’s area of interest. Shadowing opportunities are available in DCFS offices statewide during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Space is limited, so it is highly recommended that you apply as soon as possible. For more information, click here.

Need help or want to know more?

Contact Audrey D. Reischauer, MSW, associate director of academic partnerships, at or 217-782-3182.    

Post-secondary education
 (community college, vocational and four-year universities)

For FAFSA assistance, Youth in College placement, DCFS Scholarship, Tuition and Fee Waiver and Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program information, please contact:

Laura Gutierrez

Nashun Avery

Kim Peck (preferred method of contact)