Practicum Policies and Procedures

On a case-by-case basis, alternative placement options may be considered, which include distance placements and placements in a student’s place of employment. Students must meet the established criteria and submit an application for an alternative placement option by the earlier deadlines listed.  For detailed information on alternative placement options go to BSW Practicum Courses and Applications or MSW Practicum Courses and Applications.

In any given term there will be several groups of students going into field. Students are asked to keep in mind the significant amount of coordination that comes into play, and to be respectful of the workload of the Practicum Coordinator in the process of matching. Telephone or teleconference meetings to discuss your placement application and options may be requested as needed by the student or Practicum Coordinator.

Students are responsible for meeting all Practicum deadlines and abiding by the protocols and policies outlined.

Students with Disabilities

Carleton is committed to providing accommodation to support students with documented disabilities to facilitate academic success. These services are made available to students in all programs and courses at Carleton, including the Practicum courses. Students in need of disability related accommodation are asked to identify their needs for accommodation to the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC). Students requesting accommodation must be registered with the Paul Menton Centre. Students with a “Letter of Accommodation” from PMC are encouraged to inform the Field Coordinator as early as possible if they require accommodation in their field placement (i.e., when they first submit their Practicum Application Form) so that all reasonable efforts can be made to ensure the appropriate accommodations and related support services are in place.

Practicum Expenses

When a student incurs costs that are directly related to the rendering of placement services and that if incurred by an employee would be covered by the agency, it is expected that the agency will reimburse the student.  Other field placement costs such as police records checks, immunizations, and other pre-placement requirements are the student’s responsibility. Students are responsible for commute to and from placement.

Professional Conduct

While in Practicum, each student must make the transition from student to professional. As social workers in training, Practicum students are interacting with educators, peers, field setting personnel, members of the community, and various client groups, and students are reminded that they are making an impression as a professional at all times.

Students have a responsibility to be aware of and are expected to abide by the expectations of professional conduct for practicing social workers as outlined in the CASW Code of Ethics (2005) and the Guidelines for Ethical Practice (2005). Based on these guidelines for ethical and professional conduct, each student is expected to demonstrate commitment to their social work education and professional excellence, as well as honesty and integrity, accountability, social responsibility, and respect for others.

Student violations of the CASW Code of Ethics (2005) and the Guidelines for Ethical Practice (2005) may result in action related to student discipline or professional unsuitability.

Matching Policies

Important Information on Placements and Practicum Seminars

Faculty Liaison Consultations

Field Supervisors and students may request an on-site or telephone consultation at any time during the field placement. Students may be asked to assist in arranging a time for the field consultation(s). There will be a minimum of two consultations, one will be on-site and one telephone.


Supervision is a crucial component of the field placement and it is essential that sufficient time is allotted for supervision when a field setting agrees to take a student.  Supervision should be scheduled on a regular basis and given priority. A minimum of one hour a week should be set aside for student supervision.  It is important that students are provided with an orientation to the setting and the work of the agency when they arrive.

The supervision model to be used during the student’s field placement should be anticipated and discussed, whenever possible, during the negotiations of the placement so that all parties are clear about their responsibilities. Students are expected to prepare for supervisory sessions by jotting down questions they wish to discuss, presenting case material or other samples of their work, and/or raising issues, concerns or reflections that they documented in their journal.

Areas of focus for supervision should include:

  • Knowledge and skill development
  • Professional development
  • Support and facilitation of self-reflection
  • Promotion of social justice
  • Administrative tasks (i.e., assigning work) and task assistance (i.e., tangible, work-related guidance)
  • Ongoing goal-setting, review and constructive feedback

Supervision is primarily a task of the designated Field Supervisor(s). Field settings may utilize different models of supervision as noted below.

Field Settings

Field Settings are approved by the School of Social Work.

Field Supervisors

The School views the Field Supervisor role as integral to the applied practice training of our students and to the development of future social work professionals.

Student Insurance and Liability Coverage

Each placement is reviewed with the safety of the student in mind, however, accidents can happen and the following information is regarding the various coverage and responsibilities for the student during their placement.

Withdrawal from Practicum

While students are not able to leave their Placement mid-term, we do understand that medical issues can arise. The following information is the procedure for withdrawal and return due to medical reasons.

Practicum Difficulties

Occasionally, issues or concerns may arise between the student and their Field Supervisor and/or field setting.  Every attempt should be made to resolve these issues in a professional, ethical and sensitive manner.

It is important for students to share, and be specific about, any issues or concerns that may arise, and to review their learning contract and clarify expectations with their Field Supervisors. However, if these attempts do not quickly improve the situation, or if a student has concerns that cannot be discussed directly with their Field Supervisor, the student should consult with their Faculty Liaisons as early as possible. If the Faculty Liaison is unable to mediate the concern, the student and/or Faculty Liaison should contact the Practicum Coordinator.

Conflicts of Interest

Practicum students are responsible and accountable for identifying and avoiding any situations that may present a potential or actual conflict of interest or be perceived to be a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest arises when a student’s personal interests conflict with, or may be perceived to conflict with, their official duties and responsibilities as a social work placement student.

If a student becomes aware of any potential or actual conflicts of interest or dual relationships with a client, they are required to immediately disclose it to the Field Supervisor and Faculty Liaison and/or Practicum Coordinator.

Students may be required to withdraw themselves from any duty or transaction where they have, or may appear to have, a conflict of interest that could compromise, or be perceived to compromise, their objectivity and judgment.

Confidentiality Policy and Guidelines

Strict adherence to confidentiality is essential to ethical social work practice. Students and School faculty and instructors are expected to comply with applicable provincial privacy laws, including the The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), and adhere to the guidelines on confidentiality as outlined in the CASW Social Work Code of Ethics (2005). Students and School faculty and instructors are responsible for ensuring that no personal information or personal health information that could identify a user of any service system be used in any class discussions or written assignments.

In order to ensure that confidentiality is maintained when agency material is used in the classroom:

  • Precautions must be taken to protect confidentiality such as changing names and other identifying data.
  • If the agency also has guidelines, select the strictest ones to guide in the preserving of confidentiality.
  • Materials and recordings are the property of the agency and should not be retained or copied by the student or the School.
  • When video or audiotapes are used, or when there is a possibility of identification of service users, written permission must be obtained from the client specifying the ways in which any materials will be used and for what purpose (including classroom purposes). Materials shall not be used in an unethical manner or without the knowledge and consent of the client for purposes other than agreed upon by written consent. Special consideration needs to be taken for concealment of client identity in the use of video recordings.
  • When in doubt, the student must always discuss particular situations with the Field Supervisor and/or Faculty Liaison.

Discrimination and Harassment

The School of Social Work endorses the policies outlined by Carleton University to deal with discrimination and sexual harassment. The University’s Human Rights Policies and Procedures, including Discrimination and Harassment Policies, are posted on the Department of Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC) website and read as follows:

Carleton University is a community of faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in teaching, learning and research. Its members are part of the community at large and are governed by the law common to all persons. But membership in the academic community also entails certain rights and responsibilities. The University respects the rights of speech, assembly, and dissent; it prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place or origin, colour, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, political affiliation or belief, or handicap that is defined as such in the Ontario Human Rights Code; it requires tolerance and respect for the rights of others; and it promotes an environment conducive to personal and intellectual growth.

The right to protection from discrimination and harassment extends to students in their field placements. Students, Field Supervisors and Faculty Liaisons should familiarize themselves with the University’s policy and procedures. Most agencies and institutions have developed discrimination and harassment policies to protect their employees. Students should be familiar with these policies.