Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training

Note: The Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training program was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

About This Program

Target Population: New child welfare workers

Program Overview

In order to prepare new workers to meet the complex needs of children and families, they are required to complete a six-week comprehensive pre-service training program focusing on core knowledge and competencies designed to improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes. The current MD Child Welfare Academy pre-service training for child welfare workers and supervisors goes beyond the minimum 40 hours required by state legislation with 74 Category I contact hours and 15 Category II contact hours. Six separate training modules, delivered over the course of six weeks, address foundational child welfare concepts, guiding principles, and mandated laws and policies, with a strong emphasis on family-centered, strengths-based, culturally competent, and trauma-informed practice.

Grounded in adult learning theory and best practices in training and staff development, pre-service training incorporates classroom instruction, small and large group work, individual reflection, experiential activities, online assignments, and opportunities for hands-on skill building and practice in areas such as family engagement, interviewing, and court testimony. Training on the Maryland automated child welfare case management system, CHESSIE, is included throughout the competency training. Material selected for the online assignments is more theoretical and didactic in nature, allowing participants to fully utilize in-class time for more interactive, participant led learning and assessment experiences. All modules build along a continuum from awareness to knowledge to skill building to application in the field.

At the end of pre-service, participants are required to take and pass a competency exam.

Education and Training

Education and Training Resources

Publicly available information indicates there is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is some training available for this program.
See contact info below.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Greeno, E. J., Bright, C. L., & Rozeff, L. (2013). Lessons from the courtroom: Perspectives from child welfare attorneys and supervisors. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(9), 1618-1624. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.06.015

Type of Study: Focus group
Number of Participants: Not Specified


  • Age — Not Specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified
  • Gender — Not Specified
  • Status — Participants were recruited through e-mail by Child Welfare Academy staff and included professionals working in urban, suburban, and rural jurisdictions.

Location/Institution: Not Specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study expands the literature on child welfare courtroom practice skills by documenting child welfare worker conduct via perspectives from child welfare supervisors and administrators who received pre-service training [now called Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training] and courtroom attorneys. Separate focus groups with child welfare attorneys and supervisors and administrators were held to ascertain best and concerning practices for child welfare workers in the courtroom. Focus group participants identified themes related to preparation, adversarial nature of court proceedings, testimony, reasonable efforts, appearance and mannerisms, esteem of workers, duality of worker roles, and support. Study results have implications for focusing and improving training and supervision. Limitations to this study include the sample population and the lack of input from judges. The supervisors and attorneys included in this study are not a representative sample for the state, and results may not be representative for the general population of both respective parties.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training.

Contact Information

Tiffany Hancock, MSW, LCSW-C
Title: Assistant Director
Phone: (410) 706-2318

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: January 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: January 2018