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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 an associate, 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. Students are able to decide where they want to be placed depending where their home and school is located. Each office does specialize 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. 

Application process:
To apply, students should contact the DCFS Academic Internship Program via email at Internships are provided for the fall, spring and summer semesters. Students, depending on their university requirements, may intern during any of these semesters. There is an application window for each semester. Students are placed on a first-come, first-served basis

​Semester​Application Windows
Fall​February 15 to April 15
​Spring​September 1 to October 15
​Summer​January 18 to February 28

Please note: The submission of a completed application does not ensure an internship with the department. Internships typically begin at the beginning of each semester and end when the student completes their internship hour requirements.

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 Toccara Steele, associate director of academic partnerships, at or 773-371-6000.