Join us on You TubeJoin us on FacebookJoin us on TwitterJoin us on InstagramJoin us on LinkedIn

DCFS Academic Internship, University Partnership and Shadow Program

DCFS Academic Internship protocols during COVID 19

The state of Illinois is currently experiencing an unprecedented public health crisis. In response, DCFS has moved to telework protocols for most staff. Considering the governor’s Stay at Home Ordinance related to COVID-19, the following protocols are being instituted regarding the DCFS Academic Internship and Job Shadowing programs:

  • Current interns placed in DCFS offices should follow the recommendations of their respective universities regarding field placement, remote placement or ending internships. DCFS interns who have been sent offsite may plan on a case by case basis in consultation with their university’s field placement liaison and their DCFS field instructor/supervisor to complete remote assignments or projects that can continue to count toward their required internship hours in order to graduate on time.
  • All future internship placements with the department will be suspended until further notice. Finalizations of internship placements for the upcoming Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters will be delayed, as it is unknown when DCFS staff who would be supervising interns will return from telework status. 
  • No new internships will be approved while the COVID19 ordinances are in place and until DCFS field offices have had an opportunity to assess the capacity of the field to grant such requests.
  • While future internship assignments are suspended or delayed, prospective interns can still apply online during the open application windows, and their applications will be reviewed in preparation for an eventual return to onsite operations for DCFS. The online internship application can be accessed via this link for ongoing applications:
    • Applications will be accepted during the following windows:
    • Summer Semester: January 15 through February 15 
    • Fall Semester: March 15 through April 30 (This date has been extended from April 15 during the COVID-19 crisis to allow additional time for application submission.)
    • Spring Semester: September 15 through October 15
  • Qualified applicants who apply online will still be emailed the complete academic internship application packet, but all completed packets must be submitted electronically. No hard copy application packets mailed through postal service will be processed until further notice.&
  • Additionally, any applications for job shadowing will be suspended while the governor’s COVID-19 ordinances are in place and until DCFS field offices have had an opportunity to assess the capacity of the field to grant such requests.


Any questions can be directed to Audrey Reischauer, UIUC associate director of academic partnerships, at

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.

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

Pat Palmer

Kim Peck (preferred method of contact)