Thursday, November 10, 2022 11:00am, EST
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Certificate in Promoting Child and Adolescent Well-Being (ChAP)

The ChAP Certificate prepares students to work with a variety of child and youth populations in many different settings (health, mental health, child maltreatment, schools, etc.).


ChAP students choose their own focus regarding the youth population and age group that interests them, with the ultimate goal of developing skills to serve as change agents for children and adolescents across various environments

ChAP students are guaranteed specialized field placements in child-focused settings; These settings may include:

  • Educational settings (elementary; middle school; high school; community colleges and post-secondary settings; vocational education)
  • Behavioral Health settings (both in-patient and out-patient: hospitals; clinics; transitional programs; counseling centers)
  • Physical Health settings (hospitals; clinics)
  • Juvenile Justice (juvenile justice detention; prevention programs)
  • Child Welfare/Child Maltreatment settings (Department of Children and Families; CASA; Prevent Child Abuse NJ)
  • Community based organizations (sex trafficking prevention programs; policy focused programs; services and advocacy for developmental disabilities; services and advocacy for affectional and gender diverse youth; services and advocacy for immigrant and refugee families)

Child-focused populations include:

  • Children and youth with behavioral health and/or developmental disabilities
  • Children and youth with physical or medical impairments or challenges
  • Children and youth who are immigrants or refugees
  • Children and youth affected by child maltreatment and/or sex trafficking
  • Children and youth who identify as LGBTQ+
  • Children and youth who are at risk of involvement or are involved with juvenile justice system
  • Children and youth affected by one or more of the following intersectional issues: poverty; homelessness; unemployment; racism and discrimination; under-resourced communities; disenfranchisement
  • Understanding and addressing the impact of COVID on all child and youth populations
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MSW students take:

  • Advanced Contemporary Policy: Children and Youth
  • Adolescence: Risk and Resilience OR Infants and Toddlers: Promoting Developmentally Informed Well-Being
  • At least one advanced year practice course, focused on Clinical or MAP practice with children and youth
  • One of several approved electives focused on children and youth

ChAP course requirements and electives:

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Field Placement


As discussed above, students will complete a two-semester specialized field placement focused on the population and age group of their choice (depending on availability of field placement opportunities). Field placements are determined based one-on-one conversations with ChAP faculty.

Children with Father

ChAP Community Involvement Activities

  • ChAP students are required to participate in online (Canvas) activities throughout the academic year
  • ChAP students have the option to participate in optional professional development workshops offered throughout the year
Image of four people sitting at a conference table with their laptops open and talking
Photo is of young children mostly in a circle laughing with each other
Imagine of a woman and holding her daughter; both are smiling at the camera
Children with Father
Image of four people sitting at a conference table with their laptops open and talking

Frequently Asked Questions

  • This Certificate program is directed by Dr. Cassandra Simmel, Associate Professor and coordinated by Dr. Margaret O'Donoghue, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, both at the School of Social Work. They also work closely with Student Affairs and Field Staff at all three campuses to coordinate this program.

  • Please send an email to

  • ChAP is the Certificate on Promoting Child and Adolescent Wellbeing. It is called the Child and Adolescent Program (ChAP) for short.

  • No, these are optional programs that students can elect to apply to if that have an interest in a particular area/population/topic that is addressed by one of the Certificate programs.

  • ChAP focuses on many topics related to children, youth, and their families, across multiple settings. Topics range from child maltreatment to mental health to gender and sexual diversity (and many more!). Students might work in various settings such as schools, hospitals/health care, juvenile justice, child welfare, local agencies, and many more.

  • Students can apply to two Certificate programs, which means completing two separate applications. But students can only enroll in ONE Certificate. Because each Certificate has its own Field and curriculum requirements, it is not possible to do more than one Certificate.

  • MSW students in Traditional or Blended program (regular or Adv. Standing) 2, 3 or 4 year programs; Dual Degree students should contact ChAP for compatibility.

  • Yes, Advanced Standing students are eligible to apply. 

  • ChAP accepts students from all three campuses: New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.

  • ChAP is not currently open to IW or online students, though we are looking into expanding it.

  • Applications to all Certificate programs are available in the Fall semester. Students are strongly encouraged to attend Open House and Certificate Forums in which they can meet with ChAP faculty and learn more about Certificate programs. Notification about Certificate Forums and the online portal to complete applications is disseminated via periodic email/bulletins from Student Affairs.

  • Although we don’t have a set restriction on the number of students we will accept, we do try to base enrollment on the number of appropriate Field Placements we have available.

  • Applicants from the traditional MSW program are generally notified in early December; Advanced Standing students are generally notified in late April/early May.

  • The Certificate in Child and Adolescent Well-Being (ChAP) provides a limited number of scholarships through a competitive application process open only to ChAP students.  The overarching goal of this program—entitled the Rutgers University Behavioral Youth (RUBY) Collaborative, a Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program, funded by the Health Resource Services Administration—is to build capacity to address behavioral health challenges in adolescents and transition-age youth (TAY).  RUBY students interprofessionally collaborate with graduate students from Rutgers’ School of Nursing (SON) and School of Health Professions’ Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions (SHP) in specialized community agency settings to learn about clinical interventions that integrate medical and behavioral health care for at-risk adolescent and young adult populations. The RUBY Collaborative program also emphasizes specialized advanced learning, training, and supervision opportunities for students and their field supervisors. Students who are selected for the RUBY Collaborative receive a stipend for their participation in the year-long program.

    Interested students apply for the MSW certificate in ChAP the academic year before they begin their advanced year internship. If they are accepted into the certificate, they will then have the opportunity to apply for the RUBY scholarship. Information about ChAP and the RUBY project is available by emailing

  • In early spring ChAP Certificate Program faculty will be holding orientation sessions via Zoom, for accepted students.

  • Yes, there are four required Certificate courses, encompassing policy, practice, and HBSE domains. Please see the Info Sheet/website for more details.

  • Yes, ChAP is open to both.

  • Yes, the ChAP courses are open to all students; all students interested in the course topics are encouraged to enroll in the courses. Non-ChAP students can also develop an Area of Emphasis if they wish, to tailor some of their interests and coursework with a focus on children and youth.

  • ChAP students are required to participate in brief, periodic Canvas Discussion groups during the spring and Fall semesters. ChAP students interact with others in their “Peer Teams” about their field placements, etc.

  • Yes, students who successfully fulfill all of the requirements of the Child and Adolescent Well-being Certificate will receive a Certificate at graduation; their transcripts will also indicate that they earned a specialized Certificate.