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Welcome to the Child Welfare Academy!

The Child Welfare Academy (CWA) trains and develops professional workers who work with Alaska children and families to assure children are safe and families are strong. CWA strives to be the training facility for Alaska social workers and child welfare professionals. Earlier this year CWA underwent a name change from the Family and Youth Services Training Academy (FYSTA) to the Child Welfare Academy in order to better represent CWA’s commitment to new innovations in training, curriculum, and staff.

Innovation at the CWA

This past year has been exciting for the Child Welfare Academy (CWA). We continue refining our foundational staff development with the Office of Children's Services, (OCS) but have also embarked on two new initiatives. The first initiative expands our ongoing work on Strengthening Families Alaska. The CWA supports Alaska's role in Strengthening Families, a growing national movement that uses the framework of the five Protective Factors Framework to develop innovative programs across the country. These programs help parents develop five Protective Factors; Parental Resilience, Concrete Supports in Times of Need, Social Connections, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development and Social and Emotional Competence of Children. Research shows that when parents develop protective factors the risk of child maltreatment is greatly reduced, child development is improved and families are stronger. 

The Child Welfare Academy provided a two-day Strengthening Families training this past February in Nome. Community partners from Nome and the villages of Brevig Mission, Golovin, Elim, Noorvik and Shungnak participated. These partners went on to apply for mini-grants to embed the Protective Factors into programs in their communities. As a result, the team leaders in all locations held numerous family events aimed at improving protective factors in all families. Follow-up visits in each of the locations provide technical assistance and help with the implementation. Additionally, CWA provided a five part video series training on the protective factors to sites in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Dillingham, Kotzebue and Nome. Other Strengthening Families training is provided as requested. 

The second new initiative is the development of coaching with new supervisors within the Office of Children's Services. After newly hired supervisors complete core supervisory training, they go through a new Coaching Supervisors to Best Practice (CSBP) Program. The program is focused on building competency and confidence in supervising front line workers in best practices. CSBP uses development methods such as; classroom training, readings, assignments, webinars, and coaching program in which each supervisor is assigned a personal coach who provides one hour of coaching to the supervisor each week. CSBP is a 22-week program and emphasizes transfer of learning with their staff. The first cohort will finish in the summer by demonstrating mastery through a case presentation to a panel. We will keep you posted as this innovative new program continues to develop.