DCF: HOMEPAGE - Workforce Development

Workforce Development

A major emphasis of the Workforce Development Academy 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 Training 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 Workforce Development Academy 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 Workforce Development 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 Workforce Development Academy also seeks to support managers and supervisors in their efforts to create a positive working environment conducive to fostering the development of staff.

The Workforce Development Academy currently has 19 full time staff assigned to the division. The staffing consists of a Director and Assistant Director, 1 Program Supervisor, 2 Curriculum Managers, 2 Clinical Education Specialists, 8 Child Welfare Trainers, 1 Video Media Designer, and 3 Clerical Staff.

Additional Training Sites

  • In case of inclement weather the Workforce Development Academy 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). Training Academy 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 Workforce Development Academy 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.


All individuals attending training at the Workforce Development Academy must park in the Pro Park parking lot located at the intersection of Hudson and Buckingham Sts.

For DCF Employees: Please ensure that the protocol below is utilized when parking in the lot:

  • State ID must be presented to the Pro Park Security guard at the lot;
  • State ID must be worn at all times in Central Office;
  • Enter through the front of the building - no access will be given through the back door.

For NON DCF Employees: You must present a photo ID to the guard upon entry into the building.  Parking and directions .


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 Workforce Development Academy, supervised casework experience in a training unit and region-based activities aimed at completing the transfer of learning process. The Workforce Development 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.   Pre-Service Training .

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 Workforce Development 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 Workforce Development Academy 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 Workforce Development 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 training 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.  Investigations Training .

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.  Professional Development Plan for Social Work Supervisors .

Foster/Adoptive Parent Trainings

The Workforce Development Academy offers continual learning opportunities for foster and adoptive parents so they too can increase their skills and abilities in working with the Department and in caring for our children.

Mandated Reporter Trainings

DCF offers free mandated reporter trainings for all community providers.  Follow this link to learn more:   Mandated Reporter Trainings

Staff Mentor Program

The Department recently developed two staff mentoring programs for social workers and clerical staff in an effort to support upward mobility. In these programs, 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 Workforce Development Academy is committed to assisting staff with efforts to pursue their education. The Training 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 Training 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 Program - Allows educational opportunities for those pursing undergraduate and graduate degrees with 8 hours per week unpaid release time and a stipend.

  • Master of Social Work 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 for NON-DCF Employees

DCF provides unpaid internships for students at the Bachelor, Masters, and Ph.D level who are pursuing a degree in social work or related field, and for which the internship is an academic requirement.

For additional information please follow this link to the  Internship Overview and Online Inquiry Form.  The online internship inquiry form must be completed within the timeframe specified below.  Inquiries will be processed according to the following schedule:

  • Fall: Inquiries will be accepted from March 1st-May 31st 
  • Spring: Inquiries will be accepted from October 1st-December 15th
  • Summer: Inquiries will be accepted from January 15th-March 31st
Please note that placement considerations are made based on office availability.

If you are interested in volunteering you can access the Volunteer Inquiry Form through Volunteer Opportunities.  Please note that an Inquiry Form is required for consideration in this program.

Content Last Modified on 1/6/2016 2:55:20 PM