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

About This Program

Target Population: Recently hired public child welfare workers across Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions

Program Overview

The Child Welfare Academy (CWA) at the Institute for Innovation and Implementation represents a long-standing partnership between the University of Maryland, School of Social Work and the Maryland Department of Human Services, Social Services Administration. Through specialized training, education and support, the Child Welfare Academy prepares public child welfare professionals, resource parents, and kinship caregivers to effectively provide services and care for children, youth, and families in the Maryland public Child Welfare System. In order to prepare new workers to meet the complex needs of children and families, they are required to complete a comprehensive preservice training program focusing on core knowledge and competencies designed to improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes. Grounded in adult learning theory and best practices in training and staff development, preservice 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. At the end of preservice training, participants are required to take and pass a competency exam.

Program Goals

The goals of Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training are:

  • Attain foundational knowledge and skills needed to meet the complex needs of children, youth, and families in the Maryland public Child Welfare System
  • Gain core knowledge and competency to improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and youth

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training.

Essential Components

The essential components of Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training include:

  • 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-responsive practice.
  • 74 Category I contact hours and 15 Category II contact hours.
  • Incorporation of training on Maryland’s automated child welfare case management system.
  • Designed for the adult learner with attention to adult learning principles.
  • Co-trained by two skilled facilitators.
  • Online assignments that support and reinforce classroom learning.
  • Utilization of a wide variety of teaching/training modalities including 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.
  • Module Descriptions:
      • Module 1: Foundations of Practice
        • Introduces participants to child welfare history, the legal context for child welfare, values and principles, and an overview of the Maryland DHS structure and its relationship to the Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS).
      • Module 2: Indicators and Dynamics of Abuse and Neglect and Three Contributing Factors
        • Participants learn the definitions of child abuse and neglect as well as the dynamics and indicators of maltreatment within a family.
      • Module 3: Authentic Engagement with Children, Youth and Families
        • Participants explore effective techniques to engage and conduct interviews with children and families.
      • Module 4: Conducting Family Centered Assessments
        • This module teaches a framework to assess for safety and risk, differentiating between immediate danger and potential for harm.
      • Module 5: Planning with the Family
        • This module prepares workers for planning with the family using the Family Centered Practice Model and an understanding of the grief and loss process.
      • Module 6: Working Effectively with the Court
        • This module introduces participants to the role of the court in child welfare cases.

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

Six modules delivered over the course of six consecutive weeks

Recommended Duration:

Six weeks

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Other

Homework

Maryland Child Welfare Academy (CWA) Pre-Service Competency Training includes a homework component:

Preservice participants complete out-of-class assignments that reinforce and provide a foundation for classroom content and transfer of learning.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Typical training supplies are required such as computers, projectors, a room large enough to accommodate up to 35 participants, flip charts, markers, a dry erase board, notecards, etc.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

It is highly recommended that preservice trainers have direct child welfare experience, preferably working in a local department of social services, as well as knowledge, expertise, and experience providing education/training for the adult learner.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Please contact the Program Director or Assistant Director for additional information.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

CWA will consult with organizations/agencies interested in establishing a similar preservice training program.

Number of days/hours:

Consultation time will vary according to the needs of the organization.

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.06.015

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

Population:

  • 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 basic study design, measures, results, and 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 preservice 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

Jennifer L. Kelman, PhD
Title: Director
Website: theinstitute.umaryland.edu/our-work/ruth-young-center-for-maryland/child-welfare-academy
Email:
Phone: (410) 706-1442

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: January 2018