Academy for Workforce Development

Academy Overview
Contact us
Inclement Weather Announcements (860-560-5055)
Internship Inquiry Form (MUST read "Internships and other educational opportunities" prior to completing this form)
Liaison Responsibilities
Staff Mentoring Program
    Mandated Reporter Training
    Professional Development
    Staff In-Service
    Supervisory Training Plan
Volunteer Inquiry Form (Please note that completion of this Inquiry Form is required for consideration into the Volunteer program.)

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.

All persons attending training at the DCF Central Office location must park in the Cedar Street parking lot located on the corner of Park and Cedar Streets. 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.

Parking Lot Photo

A parking pass is required to be displayed while parking in the Cedar Street Parking Lot.  Click here to download the pass.



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.



Liaison Responsibilities
  • Communicate field supervisor opportunities in your office utilizing the Field Supervisor Form-
  • Direct Field Supervisors to the Training Academy Home Page for all Internship Forms
  • Review all inquiries sent by the Training Academy and match to field supervisors according to interests
  • Students should be contacted within a week of receiving inquiry:
    • Interview all potential interns (can be done with the supervisor who you have identified)
    • Discuss specific expectations for the students' academic program utilizing the Field Manual and/or Learning Contract
    • Weekly supervision required by school
    • Discuss proposed schedule
    • Method of evaluation
    • Site visits by school/school contact
    • Inform Training Academy of students accepted/denied
  • Provide Internship Packet to student once field supervisor has been assigned. Send completed packets once signed (Intern, Field Sup, and Liaison) to the Training Academy by the deadline.
  • Communicate program information and changes to the field supervisors as needed
  • Orientation
  • Car Seat Training
  • Fingerprinting /Background checks
  • Monitor all placements via communications with the field supervisors and students
  • Ensure objectives of learning contract are being achieved
  • Ensure all activities are directly related to social work practice
  • Attend Liaison Meetings as announced by the Training Academy
  • Mediate placement issues with the field supervisor, student and school
  • Utilize the Training Academy when mediation efforts fail


Internships and other educational opportunities

Internship Overview

The Department of Children and Families makes every effort to place 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.


Internship Requirements
Students pursuing a minimum of a Bachelor or Masters in social work or related  field.  The Department requires that there be an Affiliation Agreement with all participating schools which  outlines the roles and responsibilities between the school and the department.  Students must confirm with their Field Education Department or equivalent to confirm if an agreement is in place.  Affiliation Agreements not currently in place must be initiated prior to the submission of Internship packet.  Due to the significant level of interactions with children, families and professionals, students must possess good moral  and professional conduct.


Inquiry Process

Once a student submits a thorough Inquiry (see link below) they can anticipate the following may occur:

  • To have their inquiry sent to the Area Office or Facility selected
  • To be contacted by the selected Area Office or Facility after the submission period  (see below for "Internship  Application" timeframes and deadlines.)
  • To be contacted  for an interview to discuss field  placement expectations students must  bring their Field Placement  Manual, Learning Contract and resume to the interview
  • To be provided with an Internship Packet from the Area Office /Facility once an interview has been scheduled and selected
  • To complete fingerprinting and background checks at DCF Central Office prior to Orientation
  • To attend a one day orientation once a field  placement has been offered by the Office/Facility.


Roles and Responsibilities of the Student, Field Instructor and School 

Expectations for student interns and their supervisors (a.k.a. "field instructors") differ between  schools and programs (i.e.  BSW or MSW).  It is crucial that student interns and prospective field instructors follow the guidelines detailed in the field manual provided by the student's school.  This section is intended as a general overview only.


The student is expected:

  • to consult and obtain approval from Field Advisor prior to submitting inquiry to provide the name and telephone number of approving faculty advisor
  • to understand and provide the field  placement requirements of their academic institution as requested
  • to thoroughly complete the on-line inquiry form (incomplete inquiries will not be considered) to complete the internship paperwork within the timeframe provided
  • to complete a learning contract according to the guidelines of their academic institution
  • to provide Field Instructor with class syllabus to assist in the identification of relevant activities
  • to participate in supervision throughout his/her placement
  • to maintain professional code of conduct at all times during the course of the field  placement, including but not limited to:  NASW standards, DCF policy  standards,   attendance and punctuality.

The Field Instructor is expected:
  • to provide the student with activities that meet the students learning objectives as outlined on the learning contract and class syllabus
  • to review the student's Field Manual including clearly stated expectations of the student and the field instructor
  • to provide regular, protected supervision time throughout his/her placement (minimum 2 hours per week early in the placement and a minimum of 1 hour per week towards the end)
  • to designate a back-up Field Instructor and provide  all contact information to the student
    to maintain regular contact with the student's Field Advisor; more frequently if problems arise with the placement
  • to maintain regular contact with the Area Office Internship Liaison to be SIFI certified, if required for placement of student
The school is expected:
  • to assign the student a Field Advisor
  • to approve the prospective placement prior to the student  completing the inquiry process
  • to provide the student and field advisor with a Field Placement Manual  or detailed outline  of clearly stated expectations for placement
  • to maintain regular contact with both the student and Field Instructor, including office  visits and phone contact
  • to be available to both the student and field advisor for mediation if necessary

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 Field Placement Office or Manual.


What type of learning opportunities should the student have?

The internship in the  area office provides a wealth  of opportunities for  the students to gain considerable knowledge in the  area of protective services.   Students will have  the opportunity to observe  and practice case management, intervention skills, as well as understand the  assessment process  through the various facets of the  department that  include  but not  limited  to:

  • Investigations
  • In-Home  Services
  • Out-of-Home Services
  • Voluntary Services
  • Mental Health Services
  • Adolescent Services
  • Permanency Service
  • Foster Care and Adoption Services  (FASU)
  • Probate

In addition, there are internships available that provide students with administrative and direct clinical opportunities located within various departments of DCF, including placement with Juvenile Justice, Adolescent Services, Performance Management (aka Results Based Accountability), Education (USD 2), Health and Wellness, Clinical and Community Consultation and Support Team, Solnit – North & South Campuses and the Legislative division.  To start, all student interns who have not been employed by the Department of Children and Families should  receive  an orientation to the Department. Within that orientation, the student should learn about  the agency's  mission, structure, programs and policies. Furthermore, the student should tour DCF facilities and attend court hearings, including (if possible)  trials for termination of parental rights.  Assignments should afford students the opportunity to:

  • have responsibility for work tasks, i.e. to lead a group rather than observe; to staff  a committee rather than membership on the committee;
  • have ongoing (weekly) face to face contact with the client system throughout the school year; record practice encounters in an appropriate form (log, journal, process, etc.) for use in supervision and for development of professional self-awareness.

Furthermore, students should:
  • work with clients who represent socio-cultural, racial, ethnic, age and/or gender  differences;
  • form and maintain purposeful professional relationships with clients within context of the agency mission and expressed need of the clients.

What are some examples of actual assignments?

Work assignments should be based on the student's learning objectives.  Many programs include different expectations for students' first year and second year  placements.  Most programs expect students to be given  broad  range  of assignments in their  first  year so that  they  receive  a generalist education.  Likewise, most programs expect  that  students will receive  advanced  assignments matching their concentration or major  for their  second year  placement.  Student  experiences wilt differ  depending upon  their  degree program and preparation to work  in the  field  of child  welfare, so please  refer  to the student's field  manual for an accurate and specific  overview of the  relevant expectations.  Students with a clinical  focus will  find relevant activities in the Department's Facilities.  In all cases, students will work under close supervision and will not be assigned  to work on cases independently in LINK. While the goal is to ensure  that  interns have meaningful learning opportunities, the assigned  DCF staff has responsibility for all work  provided on behalf of case participants.  Some general practice assignments for the student's include  but  are not limited to:

  • Provide direct service(s)to one or more clients.  For example:
    • Supervise weekly family visits and provide a specified intervention (i.e. assistance to a parent in regard to the development of identified parenting skills);
    • Work with children, parents and foster parents in developing life books;
    • Perform psychosocial histories;
    • Complete application for services on behalf of clients (i.e. Wilderness  School application procedures- written application, interview and orientation with client)
    • Assist clients with application for services
    • Provide mentoring services to adolescent clients
    • Provide transportation to assist clients in meeting case plan expectations

Work on case management activities such as:
  • Assist in trial preparation, such as the of service and/or visitation logs.
  • Document client progress of meeting case plan goals
  • Attend and participate in case planning meetings (i.e.  Quality Improvement Teams, Case Planning Conferences, Administrative Case Reviews, Permanency Planning Team meetings or Family Conferences; Permanency Teaming, and Child and Family Teaming Meetings
  • Conduct a case assessment and develop, in writing, intervention plans for this case.
  • Organize an agency-based program (i.e.  A foster parent recruitment or recognition program)
  • Analysis of a policy problem; develop and compare a set of policy alternatives; determine a viable goal for a policy practice activity.
  • Organize, lead and evaluate work groups (i.e. Foster and Adoptive Parents Support Groups)
  • Advanced Year Casework Majors should receive assignments similar to the Foundation year assignments, but  it is necessary that students provide direct service to clients throughout the school year.
  • Advanced Year Group Work Majors must provide social group work services to different kinds of groups over an academic year.   It is expected that students devote a minimum of 5 contact hours  per week to direct practice with groups.   Students must lead a group solo, but can also have co-leading opportunities.  In addition, students can play the role of an advisor, convener, discussion leader, trainer or Instructor.  Students must also be afforded time as needed for individualized contacts, home visits, consultation, team conferences and referrals.
  • Advanced Year Community Organization Majors should receive assignments working with a community or agency group, committee or task force.  A good assignment would be for the student to be given a job of organizing and staffing a group around a particular community task.   A student could staff an existing group or do the leg work for setting the scene for organizing a task force  or committee.
  • Advanced Year Policy and Planning Majors should receive assignments working directly with agency policy.  This can include grant writing, program and project budgeting, program development, sophisticated policy analysis, program evaluation, strategic planning, involving clients and consumers in the policy and planning process, advocacy and lobbying.
  • Advanced Year Administration Majors are expected to gain knowledge and skills in the major administrative functions.   Some assignments might include work with any facet of planning associated with the agency, including assessment of need for a specific program, development of a grant proposal, strategic planning, formalizing a program plan, manual preparation and participation in the budgeting process.   Students may also serve as a consultant to a committee or staff a committee, or serve as liaison between agency and other service  elivery systems. They may also organize and implement an In-service  training program, provide staff or program evaluation, organize and direct staff resources, develop a new service, maintain records and reports, work with policy, proposal development and implementation, or develop and use of procedures to provide structure for program implementation.

Internship Application

The online internship inquiry form should be completed according to the academic semester you are applying for, and you MUST specify which semester(s) you are applying for.

  • Spring: Inquiries will be accepted from October 1st until December 15th
  • Summer: Inquiries will be accepted from January 15th until March 15th
  • Fall:  Inquiries will be accepted from March 1st until May 15th

Click here to access the online inquiry form