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Academy for Workforce Development

Academy Overview
Contact us
Inclement Weather Announcements (860-560-5055)

Leadership Academy Now and Zen (meditation videos)
PowerPoint Presentation:  Supporting Youth as the Return To School
Staff Mentoring Program
    Mandated Reporter Training
    Professional Development
    Staff In-Service
    Supervisory Training Plan  
A major emphasis of the Academy for Workforce Development has been the provision of in-service and pre-service training.   Currently, attention is being paid to ways in which the workforce can be better recruited, trained and retained through partnerships with nearby institutions of higher education.   These partnerships are being pursued in order to provide staff with the opportunity to earn advanced degrees and/or acquire additional skills.   The Academy strives to provide timely training programs that assist the DCF staff and community providers to respond effectively to children and families needing services.   Through the implementation of a competency-based system, training programs and other initiatives relate specifically to the work tasks and ongoing development of DCF staff.


The Academy for Workforce Development seeks to strengthen the practice of child welfare services in Connecticut by enhancing the knowledge and skills of DCF staff, as well as providing educational opportunities for non DCF employees in the form of internships.  The nature of child welfare interventions and services are challenging and complex, therefore the demand for competent skills of those who provide these services is imperative.

Established in 1997, as a result of the Juan F Consent Decree, the Academy's mission is to provide high quality, competency and outcome based, culturally responsive training in accordance with the agency mission and national standards for practice; to encourage staff to attain professional education; and to utilize current research to improve pre-service and in-service training and service delivery.

Our goal is to provide opportunities for every staff member to develop the competencies needed to fulfill the mission of the Department and improve the services to children and their families. The Academy for Workforce Development also seeks to support managers and supervisors in their efforts to create a positive working environment conducive to fostering the development of staff.

Inclement Weather Announcement
  • In case of inclement weather the Academy for Workforce Development will announce any delay or cancellation of the day's classes. Channel 3, (WFSB) will broadcast the message the same as a school closing as "DCF Training Academy."
  • Call 860-560-5055 for information.  There will be a recording if there are any changes in the normal training day. (Please DO NOT leave any messages on this line). Classes will begin at 9:00AM., unless there is a cancellation or delay.
  • Decisions on weather related cancellations or delays will be made no later than 6:30AM.

*Reminder: In the event of a Academy for Workforce Development cancellation, staff must report to their office, unless the state has been closed by the Governor.   If you reside out of the state and can not receive these TV stations, please make provisions to contact your supervisor.

For DCF Employees, your State ID must be worn at all times in Central Office and you enter through the front of the building. No access will be given through the back door.


The pre-service program for newly hired social workers and trainees is designed to prepare them for effective protective service/child welfare practice. The primary responsibility of the social worker/trainees during their first 12 months of employment while under the “trainee” status is to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for the job. There are several components to the pre-service program: classroom training at the Academy for Workforce Development, supervised casework experience in a training unit and region-based activities aimed at completing the transfer of learning process. The Academy requires trainees to complete both a pre-test and a post-test. The pre-test assesses the trainee’s knowledge prior to training and the post- test assesses knowledge of Child Protective Services (CPS) upon completion of the extensive training program. It also allows the supervisor to identify subsequent training needs.  

Upon employment, new hires receive orientation to the office and area, visit local community resources are given selected readings and have the opportunity to shadow experienced investigations and treatment workers.

Depending upon hiring dates, formal training should commence at the Academy after the employee has worked in their offices for at least two weeks. Classes are scheduled form 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. Training is typically scheduled to allow the trainees alternating periods of classroom training and time in the regional offices getting involved with their new case assignments, receiving supervision, continuing to familiarize themselves with community resources and participating in structured learning activities.

A major component of the pre-service program is the presentation of four modules of training developed by the Ohio Institute of Human Services and the Child Welfare League of America. The focus of these modules is competency-based training in the major areas of child welfare practice. Some supplementary content has been included in several of these modules to reflect the current protective services practices in Connecticut. 

Staff In-Service Trainings

Experienced staff members are required to participate in 30 hours of in-service training per year. To date there are over 35 course offerings, many of which are CEC certified by the National Association of Social Workers in an effort to assist those who are maintaining clinical licensure. 


Investigations Training

The Academy for Workforce Development is responsible for the provision of in-service training for investigation workers that includes an update of skill-building techniques to enhance their investigative abilities. The investigator must acquire and analyze information to determine whether a child has been abused or neglected and is in need of protective services or other services offered by the Department or the community.

Currently, the Academy offers an eight (8) day training program for the DCF’s newly assigned investigators. Strategies are given for investigative interviewing, engaging involuntary clients in the casework process, including strategies for involving families in the assessment of their own needs. There are numerous other areas addressed during this training process. All classes are taught by Academy staff members, in addition to a number of which are presented by adjunct trainers who specialize in certain aspects of Investigations.

Those transferring into an investigations unit must have completed two years with the Department prior to requesting such a transfer. There are certain exemptions which may apply. It is expected that all investigators attend these trainings as they are offered several times each year. If class size permits, those contemplating a future move to an investigations unit can also attend the classes. This has proven to better prepare them for the encounters they will face as a new investigator. 


Supervisory Training Plan

The Department recognizes that the supervisory role is vital in our effort to strengthen the practice of child welfare services to children and families. In the fall of 2005, the Department developed a comprehensive Supervisory Training Plan to ensure that supervisors are provided with core skills and competencies, as well as on-going trainings to continue their professional development. 



Staff Mentoring Program

The Department has an established mentoring program for social workers and supervisors.  In this mentoring program, line staff members are paired with management staff in a formal process that is aimed at personal and professional development. Organized training, developmental activities and close monitoring of the pairs are offered for a period of one year. To date, participants have found the programs to be extremely beneficial. Formalize research and data analysis is underway to evaluate the program’s impact on the retention of staff.



Professional Development
The Academy for Workforce Development is committed to assisting staff with efforts to pursue their education. The Academy has established joint efforts with several universities and colleges to develop internship and other educational opportunities for all students pursuing educational degrees in the field of human services. The internship process is coordinated by the Academy and is available for students, both inside and outside the agency.

The following programs are available for existing employees to facilitate the balancing act between workload responsibilities and school work.
  • Graduate Education Stipend (GES) Program - Allows educational opportunities for those pursing undergraduate and graduate degrees with 8 hours per week paid release time.

  • Master of Social Work (MSW) Field Education Program - Allows Social Work staff to participate in a MSW Field Placement on site within DCF. The MSW internship may be done using regular caseload cases with the approval of separate learning objectives and contract by the University and Area Office.

 Internships and other educational opportunities  

Internship Overview

The Department of Children and Families makes every effort to place undergraduate and graduate students throughout the 14 Area Offices and Facilities.  Considerations for placement are based on the skill level of the student and the availability of field supervisors in their area of interest. Priority is given to students pursuing a degree in Social Work. Related disciplines include, but are not limited to psychology, criminal justice, sociology. Internships must be connected to course/educational program requirements

What kind of time commitment is expected from the student?
There is some variation to this expectation, especially between undergraduate students and graduate students. Students should consult with their respective educational program.


How to Apply for an Internship

Applications are accepted for fall and spring internships. Summer internships are not available at this time.

Social work students must be referred by their field education department or field advisor.

Students from other disciplines (i.e. criminal justice, psychology, sociology) may inquire about applying for an internship via the email listed below.  

For questions - please email DCFINTERNSHIPPROGRAMS@ct.gov