Workforce Development

Recruiting, developing, and retaining a knowledgeable and skilled child welfare workforce is critical to achieving positive outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families.  The Child Welfare Academy is committed to strengthening the child welfare workforce through the development and provision of training and support services that will arm workers and supervisors with critical information and skills, enhance resiliency and reduce burn-out, meet ongoing needs for building competency, and increase leadership capacity.     

Specialized, competency-based child welfare education and professional development are central to developing and maintaining a skilled and committed child welfare workforce.  In order to prepare new workers to meet the complex needs of children and families, they are required to complete a standardized, comprehensive Pre-Service training focusing on core knowledge and competencies vital to improving safety, permanency and well-being outcomes.    

Following Pre-Service completion, workers attend Assessing and Planning for Risk and Safety and a Service Area Specific Course (Introduction to Child Protective Services or Introduction to Out of Home Placement).  These courses are designed to build upon the knowledge and skills gleaned through pre-service, with a more intensive and specific focus.  Mandatory Foundational Courses are also provided that must be completed within the first two years of employment.  The content for these courses are aligned with both Maryland specific needs and national best practices.

Recognizing the need for ongoing education and support, In-Service training is offered on a wide range of topics designed to enhance resiliency, strengthen skills, and facilitate the transfer of learning to daily practice.  Some of the topics covered through in-service training include: stress management and self-care; secondary trauma and compassion fatigue; time management and organizational skills; engaging fathers and paternal kin; essential writing skills for exceptional case documentation, enhancing credibility in court; understanding substance abuse and addiction; and the impact of culture and spiritual traditions on child maltreatment.  Specialized workshops are continuously being developed in response to the needs and priorities of the workforce, with the overarching goal of supporting safety, permanency and well-being for the children and families of Maryland.

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Strong leadership and high quality supervision help to prepare child welfare workers to provide better services and supports to children and families, ultimately leading to improved outcomes.  In recognition of this, the Child Welfare Academy, in partnership with Social Services Administration, has developed a supervisory training certificate program, Supervision Matters, to enhance the leadership, supervisory, and decision-making skills of supervisory level staff.  This innovative program integrates competency-based training with a coaching component as a means of cultivating essential knowledge and abilities in newer supervisors.