Internships, Field Placements, and Practicums

Family Services of Western Pennsylvania hosts both undergraduate and graduate students for clinical, administrative, and COSA opportunities. For speciific program descriptions, please refer to the Services page.

Who we are: Family Services of Western Pennsylvania is a comprehensive human service agency that, since 1885, has provided a wide variety of high quality, cost-effective programs, services, and activities for children, adults, and families living in the Western Pennsylvania region.

Our Mission Statement: Empowering people to reach their full potential.

Location: Various offices throughout Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.

Please review the placements listed below. Once you have decided which placement(s) best fit your needs, please email Sandra Lafe at with the following information:

  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Number of hours you need to complete
  4. Hours in which you will be available
  5. Term(s) for which you are applying
  6. Placements you are interested


Internship Availability

Service Coordination Field Placements

Interns: 1 or 2 students, Fall and Spring terms.

Areas of Interest: Service Coordination (Adult and Child), Administrative Service Coordination, Acute Case Management

Description: The philosophy of Service Coordination at Family Services of Western Pennsylvania recognizes that children, adolescents, and adults with, or at risk of, a serious mental illness may require support from a number of different services in fostering an individual’s capacities and skills so that they may live the most fulfilling life possible. We provide coordinated assistance at regular intervals by linking individual needs with the best available services, thereby helping individuals to set and achieve goals to facilitate their own recovery.

This assistance includes:

  • Linkage to critical services
  • Advocacy
  • Mental Health Service Planning
  • Monitoring
  • Network building
  • Problem resolution
  • Recovery and health maintenance

The goal of this coordinated effort is to reduce hospitalizations while achieving recovery and maintenance.

Duties of Intern: An intern within Service Coordination will learn how to engage an individual seeking services, assess their needs and provide their unique service coordination skills.  Internships begin with an overview of the program, agency, and community.  This leads to increased responsibilities with individuals in need of services, including assessing needs, monitoring progress towards goals, developing individual service plans, and documenting activities. You won’t be left alone. More than twenty experienced field placement supervisors work with our interns and monitor your activities so that you get the most out of your experience.

Skills Learned: An intern with Family Services will have the opportunity to:

  • Build relationships with individuals served and community resources
  • Assess needs
  • Develop service plans
  • Monitor an individual's progress toward recovery
  • Hone all of your skills, professional and interpersonal, as you help guide an individual along the path to recovery.

Skill development includes but is not limited to Assessment, Organizational, Communications (verbal and written) and other clinical skills.

Location: Based in Tarentum, PA

Education: Master's or Bachelor's level students in a certificate program. This is a two-term commitment

Clearances: Driver's license (this is a mobile service), Act 33/34, Child abuse/FBI, Drug testing.

For additional information: Contact Christinia Shaner, M.S., Service Coordination Supervisor, at 724-230-2777, ext. 240.


Families Outside

Interns: 1 - 2 per semester

Description: Families Outside provides trips to state correctional institutions so that family members, including children and seniors, can visit their loved ones. Interns would be assisting with mailings, distribution of fliers, making telephone calls to past participants, and setting-up/breaking down special events. In addition they would also be assisting with the scheduling, booking, and trip planning, as well as the development and implementation of an educational/informational component for Families Outside.

Location: East Liberty

Education: Undergraduate training or experience in Criminal Justice, Social Work, or related fields.

Clearances: ACT 33/34

Allegheny County APPRISE Program

Interns: The number of interns will vary due to the demands of the individual program (School of Pharmacy 1st year or 4th year; School of Law, L1, L2, L3; School of Social Wok - Master's Degree): the number of hours required for credit(s).

Description: APPRISE is Pennsylvania’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program.  It provides free counseling to help individuals understand their health care options. Interns will receive a minimum of 30 hours classroom training. This training will provide interns with a proficient level of understanding of Medicare, Medicaid and other various health benefit programs. It will also provide interns with effective counseling skills that will enable them to appropriately identify and resolve client issues. Afet training, interns will be anle to assist clients with in-depth counseling in Medicare/Medicaid/other health benefit programs and help clients effectively access and utilize the available health care benefit programs. 

Location: East Liberty

Educational Requirements: This will be determined by the individual institution, e.g., School of Law may be different from School of Pharmacy.

Clearances: N/A

Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Residential and Vocational

Interns: 1 - 2 per semester

Description: Intern would assist with recruitment sessions when hiring new staff for the department. After the recruitment sessions, intern would assist with the orientation/training process. Intern would assist with all of the paperwork involved with each process. Intern may attend meetings and trainings when working with the direct care staff at the group homes. The intern may also assist with the completion of the Medication Administration courses to new employees as well as staff that need retrained.

Location: RIDC Park, O'Hara Township

Clearances: Act 33/34; Physical; TB test



Interns: 1 per semester (2-3 days per week)

Description: The intern would focus on the administrative side of agency activity. This would include budget development and monitoring, proposal writing, strategic planning, project planning, and community development.

Location: U-PARC/Harmarville

Education: MSW / COSA - Pitt SW

Clearances: Act 33/34 and FBI


Adolescent Short-Term Residential Treatment Facility for Diversion and Stabilization

Interns: 1-2 per semester

Description: The ADS program is a transitional unit serving adolescents with immediate crisis- oriented services in a less restrictive environment. Our goal is to divert hospitalization, to be used as a step down from hospitalization back to home, school, or long-term placement and to afford the opportunity for intense mental health treatment to adolescents who do not meet criteria for hospital admission.

Location: New Kensington area

Education: BA, BS in Psychology or related field.

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI, Physical, and TB test.


Assertive Community Treatment/Community Treatment Teams

Interns: 1-2 per semester (willing to commit to two terms)

Description: An internship for ACT (Assertive Community Treatment Team)/CTT (Community Treatment  Team) is offered for Master’s level students. We have Master’s level supervisors, including licensed clinicians. The program offers mobile (in the community) services to clients with persistent mental illness. Interns will get a broad education of case management, therapy, and the medication management of the client in the environment in which he/she resides. The goal of ACT/CTT is to help the client maintain stability and independence in the community. The supervisors are also available to provide administrative mentoring for the intern if they are interested in an internship which is more administrative than clinical. We will accept applicants from local universities close to our teams in Westmoreland or Allegheny County as we have two teams (Greensburg and Pittsburgh). This would be an ideal placement for a Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work student.

Location: East Liberty / Greensburg

Education: MA Psychology, Social Work

Clearances: Act 33/34 and FBI


In Service of Seniors: Pittsburgh

Interns: up to 3 per semester (5-10 hours/week each)

Description: In Service of Seniors: Pittsburgh is a volunteer-based program that provides free non-medical help to Allegheny County's elderly population to enhance independence and quality of life. Interns will assist the Team Leader with one of the following sets of activities:

  1. administration of phone and internet surveys of volunteers, older adult participants, and family caregivers;
  2. making weekly phone calls to program participants to update them on the status of their service requests, conducting monthly phone surveys to follow up with participants who received services and volunteers who provided services during the previous month, and assisting with data entry and events;
  3. assisting with coordination of in-home companionship services and providing ongoing phone support to companion volunteers.

Location: East Liberty

Education: Undergraduate or graduate student of any discipline. Interest in social services and older adults is necessary.

Clearances/Documentation required: Act 33/34, letter of recommendation from at least one professor.

Ways to Work

Interns: 1-2 per semester

Description: Ways to Work provides car loans to families and individuals for the repair their current car or for the purchse of a pre-owned car. Intern would perform data entry for the Ways to Work Program.

Location: East Liberty

Education: BASW or related field

Clearances: Act 33/34

OPTIONS Care Management

Interns: 3 - 4 per semester

Description: The interns will be working with older adults and their caregivers in order to support aging at home. Interns will complete an in-home functional needs assessment and participate in Individual Service Plan development. Interns will have the opportunity to shadow a Care Manager on home visits. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in surveys and data collection efforts and be part of different agency meetings and committees.

Location: East Liberty

Education: Bachelor's of higher in Social Work, Psychology, or Human Service related fields. Must have the desire to work with older adults.

Clearances: Act 33/34 and FBI; driver's license or access to transportation.


ParentWISE Bee Kind Program

Interns: 1 - 2 per semester

Description: Bee Kind is a positive social skill development program for children. Interns will work with the Bee Kind Coordinator. Interns will have the opportunity to present the Bee Kind program in early care and elementary school settings. Interns will also be required to help with scheduling and material preparation.

Location: Greensburg

Education: Associate or Bachelor's level in Education or Early Childhood Development

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI


Allegheny County Jail Collaborative, Re-Entry Community Support

Interns: 1 -2 per semester

Description: Interns will be immersed in all aspects of correctional policies, linkages to community resources for individuals post-release from county jail. The purpose of the program is to assist clients in creating natural in their own communities and ultimately reduce recidivism. Interns will have the opportunity to work with groups and individuals. Interns will gain the experience working closely with ACJ Re-Entry Community Service Coordinators, Courts, Probation Officers, and community providers.

Location: East Liberty office, Allegheny County Jail, Allegheny County Community

Education: Bachelor's or Masters level in Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, Criminology or Social Work.

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI, Jail Security Clearance

Batterer's Intervention Programming

Interns: 1 - 2 per semester

Batter's Intervention programming is provided in the Allegheny County Jail. The evidence-based Duluth Model Batterer's Intervention curriculum is used. Primarily court-ordered men attend this 24 session psycho-educational classroom training while incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail. Class is offered in two cohorts: Monday/Wednesday mornings and Tuesday/Thursday afternoons. Assessments are conducted for all enrollees. Data is compiled, entered, and analyzed to illustrate attendance, knowledge gain, change in behavior and attitudes, outcomes, and customer satisfaction.

Location: East Liberty

Education: Bachelors-level programs in Social Work, Counseling, Women's Studies, or Criminology are welcome to apply.

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI, Jail Security Clearance

Child & Adolescent Partial Hospitalization

Interns: Varies per term

Description: The Child & Adolescent Partial Hospitalization program is a multidisciplinary, intensive psychiatric treatment program for chjildren 5 to 18 years of age. The goal of the program is to identify problems preventing a child or adolescent from functioning  successfully in school, at home, and within the community, address the problems in these areas, and assist in building skills that will improve transition back into the community and school environment. Internships last for two to three semesters and include experience in individual, family and group therapies, as well as practice working on a multi-disciplinary team.

Location: Natrona Heights, PA

Education: Master's Degree students with a concentration in social work, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Counseling.

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI.

Research and Organizational Development

Interns: One or two per semester

Description: The research and Organizatioanl Development program is directed at improving the work of varius agency departments through orgamnizational development, quality improvement, research, outcomes measurement, training and development, risk mamagement, compliance, and other administrative and managerial disciplines.

Location: Harmarville, PA

Education: Candidtate should be pursuing degree in Social Psychology, Leadership, Social Service Management, I/O Psychology, Social Work (COSA), and similar disciplines.

Clearances: Act 33/34

Drug & Alcohol Treatement and Counseling Services

Interns: Varies per semester

Description: The Drug & Alcohol program is a licensed outpatient treatment program that serves individuals who are at least 13 years of age and who are suffering from substance abuse or substance dependence as well as co-occuring mental health issues. The program gives high priority to (1) pregnant IV drug users (2) pregnant substance abusers (3) IV drug usres. Program goals are for participants to achieve sobriety, to become stabilized from mental illness, and to develop the skills necessary to maintain a self-directed recovery program.The intern would participate in the day-to-day activities of professionals in the field. The intern woulod obtain direct and indirect counseling hours by working witihn our Center for Integrated Care.

Location: Tarentum, PA

Education: Master's Degree students from Social Work, Psychology and/or Counsling programs.

Clearance: Act 33/34, FBI

Social Rehabilitation for Youth

Interns: varies by semester

Description: The Social Rehabilitation for Youth (SR) program offers services to help individuals ages 16 to 17 transition into adulthood and establish independence. SR works to support and promote hope and independence, assisting individuals in developing their full potential so they can become an asset to their community. Interns will get the opportunity to learn, hands-on, in a recovery-oriented and strengths-based setting. They will work with transitional age individuals living with mental illness in the community and their homes. Activities may include: curriculum writing, group skills instruction, group facilitation, progress note entry, and assiting individuals with meeting their goals, e.g., employement, housing, education, life skills, while in the community.

Location: Greensburg, PA

Education: Bachelor's level students in Humas Services, Social Work, Rehabilitation, Psychology or other related fields.

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI

Mobile Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Interns: One to two interns per semester

Description: At Family Services, we recognize that a key element of rehabilitation and recovery for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness is experiencing a valued role in the community and obtaining/using the power to make choices about one's life. Psychiatric Rehabilitation is a recovery-focused program where adult individuals are trained in the skills necessary to gain back a valued life role. Through skill-building groups, individuals work towrds building a skill set and resource network that will help them get back to work, school, socializing, or to obtain new/better housing. Mobile Psychiatric Rehabilitation is founded on the principles of individual choice and active involvement of individuals in their rehabilitation.

An intern with the Mobile Psychiatric Rehabilitation program will have the opportunity to:

  • Build professional relationships
  • Monitor an individual's progress in recovery
  • Lead/co-lead psycho-educational groups
  • Develop curriculum
  • Complete daily documentation

Location: New Kensington, PA

Education: Bachelor's Level student in a human services field of study.

Clearances: Act 33/34

Adult Diversion and Stabilization (DAS)

Interns: One to two interns per semester.

Description: Adult Diversion and Stabilization (DAS) provides direct care services for individuals who are experiencing immediate crises related to psychiatric emergencies. Individuals undergo a short-term stay with an average of 7-14 days. While at DAS, they work on stabilization, medication regimen, and discharge planning. Interns work with direct care staff assisting individual in service in completing their goals.

Location: Tarentum, PA

Preferences: Bachelor’s Degree students majoring in psychology, social work, or related field.

Clearances: PA Act 33/34 and FBI. Valid PA Driver’s License required.

Supportive Living

Interns: One per semester

Description: The Supportive Living (SL) program provides community-based services to persons in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties with a history of serious and persistent mental illness so they can attain and maintain sucessful independent community living. The SL program operates under a recovery model with focus on maximizing individual independence in the community setting of their choice by teaching skills and developing supports needed to achieve individual life goals.

Family Services recognizes that there are several key elements of rehabilitation and recovery for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness including:

  • Becoming integrated into their community through education, competitive woirk and structured living skills;
  • Developing independent living skills
  • Successfully managing symptoms and medications
  • Developing personal health and hygeine skills.

Thse experiences are essential to the cognitive and behavioral change that underpins the recovery process and integration into the community.

Basic to this is an individual's ability to reach a state of interdependence and independence. The SL program's emphasis is on skill teaching, goal setting, active recovery planning, and stresses an individual's preference and availability. Our model includes a planned format of assessing an individual's functioning in several life domains, rehabilitation goal planning and skill teaching to produce the desired outcomes consistent with a person's cultural environment. Also inherent to the SL program are the principles of individual choice and the active involvement of individuals in their own recovery.

Duties of an Intern: An Intern with Supportive Living will learn how to engage an individual seeking services, assess their needs, and assist them with in skill building. Interns will be given an overview of program, agency and community. This includes Assessments of Functionality, completing Individualized Service Plans, and daily documentation. Activities may include:

  • Housing/Tenant responsibilities (including housing investigation)
  • Functional skill training (daily living skills, financial management, bus training, social skills)
  • Community integration
  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation
  • Healthcare management (medication compliance, symptom management, coordination of medical, therapeutic and day program needs)
  • Linkage to vocational/educational options and interests
  • Information on Public Assistance benefits and resources

During your time as an intern, you will not be left alone. Staff will be there to provide direction and assistance.

Location: Based in Tarentum, PA

Preferences: Bachelor's level students

Clearances: Driver's License (this is a mobile service), Act 33/34, Child Abuse/FBI, Drug testing

Outpatient Mental Health Counseling

Interns: One intern per year (two-term commitment)

Description: The Outpatient Mental Health (MH) Counseling program provides therapy to individuals (adults, adolescents, and children), families and couples in school and office settings. This service is offered to those seeking a safe and supportive environment to work through special problems, emotional and behavioral issues, and life stressors. The goal of treatment is to assist those seeking services to develop positive coping skills through the use of evidence-based treatment to manage relationship, emotional and behavioral issues and to cope with the stressors of life, e.g., divorce, grief and loss, problems at home, work or school. Interns should be in their final internship and seeking placement for a year.

Interns will gain experience by providing individual, group, family, and couples/marriage therapy. The intern will participate in indirect tasks of professionals in the field and gain professional development. Interns should be highly motivated and be able to work well independently aand as a team. Also, some experience in the counseling and social work field is helpful.

Location: New Kensington and Tarentum; school districts in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.

Education: Seeking Masters or Doctorates in the fields of Education, Social Work, Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy.

Clearances: Act 33/34 and FBI.

Student Assistance Program

Interns: varies per term.

Description: The Student Assistance Program (SAP) is administered by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education and operates in every middle school, high school and many elementary schools across the Commonwealth. The program is designed to assist school personnel in identifying problems students may be having that pose a barrier to their learning success. The SAP team is trained to identify problems and make recommendations to students and parents, and uses techniques to mobilize school resources to remove barriers to learning, both academic and social. These barriers may include: alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, or mental health concerns. Students are referred to a behavioral health liaison who is part of the SAP team and is qualified to screen studnets to make recommendations for further services or interventions. Liaison services include: consultation to parents, teachers and students, screenings, recommendations to community agencies and resources for parents and schools, in-school support for students, educational and prevention groups, crisis intervention services, community events to increase awareness and post-intervention services. Family Services provides liaison services to 46 schools (K-12) in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.

Location: New Kensington, various assigned schools. SAP is only a 10 month position.

Education: Master's Degree students in a human services field.

Clearances: Act 33/34, FBI, drug testing.