KENTucky Kids: Building Careers in Youth Services

Founded in 1936, the Kent School of Social Work prepares students to work in a society with complex social problems and needs. Rapidly becoming one of the top research social work programs in the country, the School provides current research information in the preparation of its students for work with individuals, families and communities. We have 80 years of experience training social workers in a student-centric program designed for your success!

The KENTucky Kids Program

Maryhurst and Uspiritus have partnered with the Kent School of Social Work to bring KENTucky Kids to life and offer its students a supportive environment in which to gain significant, beneficial experience. Being a youth care worker is not just a career – it’s a calling to provide committed care to vulnerable youth.

Earn your MSSW while working in the field and gaining valuable experience! You will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive valuable training as a Youth Care Worker with staff support and mentoring.
  • Gain relevant practice and research skills.
  • Complete MSSW practicum placements while on the job.
  • Receive an in-state tuition waiver.
  • Graduate with a MSSW in 3 years and a competitive resume!

Acceptance to KENTucky Kids is contingent on both admission to Kent School's MSSW program and an official job offer from one of the participating residential care agencies.  If you would like more information and are interested in applying to KENTucky Kids, please complete this form and a representative will contact you with details: CLICK HERE

Visit our Admissions page to learn more about the MSSW admissions requirements. You can also email our Admissions Coordinators for more information at


About the Partner Organizations


 Maryhurst is a place of new beginnings for children who have been traumatized by unimaginable abuse. Founded by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1843, Maryhurst is the oldest child welfare agency in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Five courageous Sisters established a home in Louisville where they began a long history of caring for children who have been mistreated and cast aside by the world. Today Maryhurst operates under an independent board of directors and management team but still holds firmly to the Good Shepherd values and principles passed down from its founders. As a private, non-profit agency, Maryhurst is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and families in greatest need.

Maryhurst has developed a continuum of care that provides a wide range of expert clinical, educational and health and wellness services in order to appropriately and cost-effectively serve children during various stages of their treatment needs. Programs include an intensive campus-based residential treatment program, two community-based therapeutic group homes and treatment foster care. Many foster care placements turn into adoptions, creating “forever families” each year. Maryhurst has established collaborative relationships with a number of community partners, one of which, MB Care, provides Psychiatric Residential Treatment Services to adolescent girls.


 Uspiritus was founded in 2012 with the merger of Bellewood Home for Children and Brooklawn Child & Family Services, two organizations that had each been in operation for more than 160 years. In their beginnings, both grew from the desire of a committed few to nurture and provide for children who needed help most. Through growth, change and ultimately partnership, the organizations that now form Uspiritus continue to uphold that philosophy in all they do to provide greater care for vulnerable children and families throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Uspiritus’ evidence based Psycho Educational Model helps youth learn ways to manage their behavioral problems such as: Aggression, Impulse control, Sexual acting out, and many other behavioral issues that may have resulted from their past trauma, and have caused the youth, family and/or guardian stress.

Uspiritus helps to heal the hearts and minds of youth who have suffered emotional trauma that can include physical, sexual and verbal abuse or neglect. Programs also help manage and treat mental health disorders such as: Mood, Bipolar, Attachment, ADHD, Depression, and many others.

Youth live in family-style cottages on two Louisville campuses (Bellewood and Brooklawn) that are supervised by trained youth care workers, shift supervisors and cottage managers. Youth learn basic and advanced social skills that help build self-esteem, communication, self-awareness and healthy relationships. Staff supports youth by holding daily family meetings, setting expectations, and pro-actively teaching skills needed to become successful in the community.

Why Kentucky?


 Louisville, Kentucky, has been designated an International Compassionate City, making it the largest city in America with that distinction. It is also recognized as one of the “Most Livable Cities” in America.

Louisville is an entirely different type of Southern. From boundary pushing cuisine that have made it one of the “10 Best New Food Cities” to the Urban Bourbon Experience, featuring the world’s only, city-wide trail filled with award-winning micro-distilleries. Then discover attractions like the legendary Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and the Muhammad Ali Center. We also have a thriving arts and culture sector with major arts organizations including the Louisville Orchestra, Kentucky Opera and Louisville Ballet.

The West Main District in downtown Louisville features what is locally known as "Museum Row". In this area is the Frazier History Museum, which opened its doors in 2004 as an armaments museum, featuring the only collection of Royal Armouries artifacts outside of the United Kingdom. Also nearby is the Kentucky Science Center, which is Kentucky's largest hands-on science center and features interactive exhibits, IMAX films, educational programs and technology networks. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, opened in 1981, is a nonprofit organization with a mission to support and promote excellence in art, craft, applied arts and design.

The summer season in Louisville also features a series of cultural events such as the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival (commonly called "Shakespeare in Central Park"), held in July of every year and features free Shakespeare plays in Central Park in Old Louisville.

 Also in July, the Forecastle Festival draws 35,000 visitors annually to Louisville Waterfront Park in celebration of the best in music, art and environmental activism. Past performers include The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Widespread Panic, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Avett Brothers, The Black Crowes and hundreds more.

With beautiful and bountiful parks and gorgeous architecture, including the nation’s largest Victorian preservation district, Louisville is a beautiful place to call home.