Criminal background information

The Wayne State University School of Social Work is committed to a policy of non-discrimination and equal opportunity in all of its operations, employment opportunities, and educational degree programs. The School encourages and supports individuals with criminal legal background histories to pursue social work degrees, recognizing that their lived experiences have value and may have led to their decision to consider social work practice. This statement is intended to be transparent and provide those individuals with information to assist in the decision to apply for enrollment in any of our programs.

To support prospective applicants in their decision to apply for a degree in social work, students are asked to disclose any misdemeanor or felony convictions or pending charges. The School requests such disclosure in order to evaluate, advise, and facilitate students' successful completion of the practicum requirement of the degree and the continued success in the social work profession. Prior to making their decision to accept or decline their admission into a program, students will meet with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs or a designee to discuss any possible limitations both in identifying a practicum placement as part of the degree and any potential limitations when applying for licensure post degree.

Because the practicum placement and successful completion is an absolute requirement, applicants are urged to respond authentically about their background, as failure to do so may result in unnecessary hardship for the student, the university, including the SSW, and the placement agency. The School will work closely with students and will make every effort to identify an appropriate practicum placement; however, we are not able to guarantee a placement for any student. Exclusionary criteria for criminal conviction histories, of both felonies and some misdemeanors, are set by the State of Michigan for individuals employed in certain human service settings and working with vulnerable populations. These include employees in hospital settings, adult foster care, work involving children, and psychiatric settings. These criteria may result in some students with a criminal legal background not being accepted for practicum placement.

It is also important to note that state licensing boards may question or exclude persons with criminal legal backgrounds from obtaining their social work licensure. Such policies may vary within jurisdictions. Students are urged to explore licensing mandates within the state/jurisdiction in which they plan to work and practice. Some jurisdictions/states may deny a license for social work due to certain criminal convictions.

Students with criminal legal backgrounds are strongly encouraged to reach out to our office of admissions and student services and our Office of Practicum Education with any questions or concerns they may have at 313-577-4409.