Workforce Development

Workforce Development

COFCCA concentrates on various aspects of workforce development in child welfare.  Workforce is the backbone of assisting children and families in need.

One of the many workforce intiatives currently in progress is the Child Welfare Workforce Initiative (CWWI).

COFCCA and Social Work Education Consortium, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, SUNY were awarded a 5-year grant from the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the Child Welfare Workforce Initiative (CWWI), to focus on the workforce needs in voluntary agencies under contract with the public child welfare system.

The CWWI is designed to create sustainable system changes that strengthen and support the voluntary child welfare workforce so they may better meet the needs of children and families and improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes.  To achieve this goal, CWWI will partner with agencies to address workforce challenges and opportunities that include but are not limited to:

  • implementing opportunities for workforce improvement
  • recruiting qualified workers (understand demands of job, experience, diversity, etc.)
  • retaining qualified workers
  • addressing worker stress
  • addressing racism &/or cultural competency
  • meeting mental health needs of children in foster care
  • engaging families in service plans
  •  meeting staff skill development
  • increasing supervisor skill development
  • increasing leadership development
  • collaborating with community partners in providing client services


The CWWI includes a child welfare scholarship program that supports agency staff in pursuing courses toward a BSW or MSW degree with tuition and other educational supports.


Agencies participating in the CWWI engage in an active partnership of approximately nine months during which they focus on solutions to their workforce challenges through a process that includes these steps:

  • the agency identifies its workforce challenge or opportunity;
  • the agency and CWWI form an agency workgroup to address the challenge;
  • a CWWI facilitator/mentor works closely with the agency workgroup;
  • CWWI conducts an assessment of the agency workforce challenge;
  • the agency workgroup works with the CWWI Statewide Collaboration and their facilitator/mentor to develop a plan to solve the workforce challenge and to implement their plan;
  • COFCCA’s Center for Excellence in Child Welfare provides leadership support and training as needed;
  • CWWI and the agency workgroup evaluate the results of the implementation and make necessary adjustments as needed.

CWWI and the agency workgroup will incorporate a systems of care approach so that meaningful collaboration between agencies that involves parents and children will insure cross-system service coordination in a complex array of services.

For additional information on CWWI, please contact Meredith LaFave at