University of Vermont

The Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership

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Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership


The Child Welfare Training Partnership (CWTP) provides an array of training and professional development designed to strengthen the child welfare system in Vermont. Funding for this partnership is provided through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, the Vermont Department of Children and Families, the University of Vermont and through separate grants and contracts.


Specifically the Partnership offers:

  • In-service staff training and development for child welfare and interdisciplinary personnel
  • Training for Vermont kin, foster and adoptive parents
  • Training, mentoring and coaching for family meeting facilitators under contract to the Department of Children and Families Family Services Division
  • Planning, coordination, delivery, and evalutation of training and educational materials and activities
  • Techincal assistance for program design, implementation, development, evaluation, research and policy formulation
  • Collaboration and coalition building for culturally-sensitive, community-centered child and family practice
  • Training/Workshops/Institutes
  • Policy development
  • Grant writing assistance
  • Academic and training curriculum development
  • Organizational and team development consulting
  • Cross training with other UVM Departments, colleges, universities and training institutes and Vermont agencies and government departments



Staff Development Program


About the Program

The Child Welfare Training Partnership (CWTP) partners with representatives from all levels of the Family Services Division (FSD) to continuously grow and adapt the professional development program to meet the changing needs of FSD staff. We provide a comprehensive professional development program which:

  • integrates divisional mission, policy, quality assurance and program improvement processes;
  • meets departmental needs for regional training available through the year;
  • provides opportunities for teams to be trained with their supervisors in best and emerging practices; so that supervisors can support workers to implement skills and knowledge in their practice;
  • utilizes various delivery methods, including videos, interactive internet-based, webinars, formal mentoring relationships and workshops;
  • focuses on building specific skills for engaging, assessing, planning, implementing, monitoring and closure with children, youth and families;
  • builds system capacity through organizational consulting, mentoring, team building and leadership development;
  • progresses from basic orientation through core skills/knowledge to advanced practice in child welfare and youth justice.

All professional development activities are guided by the FSD practice model and core practice in principles detailed at

Foundations for Family Centered Practice

New employees spend three weeks (separated by 3 weeks in the field) in Foundations training within six months of hire. Since many of these training days feature new best practice skills and principles, experienced employees and supervisors are encouraged to attend those highlighted in the training calendar for this purpose. The Foundations course uses case scenarios to provide concrete policy review and skills practice in the following areas:

Week One:

  • Solution focused skills
  • Investigation and assessment skills
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Safety and risk assessment
  • Child development and attachment
  • Family time coaching
  • Shared parenting
  • Domestic violence
  • Adolescent development
  • Family safety planning

Week Two:

  • Working with courts
  • Case planning with families
  • Family group conferencing
  • Concurrent planning
  • Sexual abuse: Victims and offenders
  • Ethics
  • Self care
  • Making the most of supervision
  • Case closure

Week Three:

  • Court and Witnessing Skills
  • Permanency planning
  • Reunification, guardianship and adoption

Ongoing Professional Development varies from year to year based on assessed needs of FSD staff. Topics offered recently include the following:

  • Advanced Practice: One week training covering advanced topics in family centered practice, such as impact of poverty on parenting, substance abuse and parenting, and advanced engagement and assessment skills.
  • Supervising Youth with sexually aggressive behaviors in the community.
  • Forensic Interviewing
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Youth Justice Summit
  • Working with Youth Conference
  • VT Foster and Adoptive Family Association Conference
  • Leadership Academy for Supervisors (LAS)
  • Working with Families with Mental Health Issues
  • Working with Families with Substance Abuse Issues
  • Safety Planning
  • Supervisor Learning Circles

Regional Training

The Child Welfare Training Partnership (CWTP) increasingly provides targeted, skills-based training and consultation for teams in districts. This model has proven both popular and effective in enhancing the professional development of FSD staff, supporting efforts at systems change, and spreading knowledge and practice skills based on evidence. Each district works with central office staff, CWTP staff and others they may identify to develop a district specific professsional development plan.

Each district has an assigned CWTP training coordinator, who works with staff in the district regularly. Topics covered depend upon the needs of the district staff, but may include:

  • Management consultation; team development; strategic planning
  • Family Safety Planning and Family Group Conferencing program development and case consultation
  • Safety mapping
  • Risk and safety assessment
  • Enhancing Parent-Child Family Time
  • Team training and consultation
  • Professional Dangerousness
  • Time management

Delivery of training and consultation services is mutally agreed upon by CWTP, the FSD Operations manager, and each district. Community partners and other DCF department staff are invited and welcome at the discretion of the district.

Training for IV-E System of Care Service Providers

Most of the above trainings are also available to foster parents, adoptive parents, workers in residential programs, case managers, state employees in other departments, and other community practitioners providing services to children in custody.

Specific training information and registration is at:






Last modified September 19 2014 11:23 AM

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