Technical Assistance

The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group offers technical assistance and consultation to organizations in the following areas:

Advanced Family Team Conferencing: A two-day or three-day training in advanced facilitation skills with additional attention to domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues

Coaching Family Team Conferencing Practitioners: Modeling of actual conferences and coaching of facilitators through co-facilitation and feedback. The coaching of frontline staff and supervisors following training has been a requested component in many states because of the impact of the “hands-on” approach to practice modeled by the CWG staff.

Core Pre-service and Advanced Practice Training: A multi-week training to develop essential practice skills of engagement, teaming, assessment, planning and intervention (training of trainers in delivering the curriculum can be included)

Engagement Skills Training: A two-day or three-day training in engaging children and families and developing a partnership in planning functional strengths and underlying needs necessary to craft individualized child and family plans

CWG's coaching of front-line staff and supervisors has been a component of the training in most states.  CWG’s engagement skills training is highly practice focused, involving both a conceptual underpinning for engagement and practical skill development through trainer modeling and participant practice.  Skills are taught in developing working agreements with families, dealing with resistance, interviewing skills, identifying underlying needs, bridging cultures, among others.  The engagement skills content is highly relevant to systems adopting a Multiple Response System.  CWG training ultimately seeks to transfer engagement training capacity to the system.

Senior Associate Cornelius Bird has provided consultation and training to thousands of human services professionals.  He is shown here conducting Family Team Conferencing Training.  This training has been successful (see testimonials) throughout the country and is a hallmark of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group.  

Making Visits Matter Training: A two-day training, followed by coaching, to improve the use of routine caseworker visits with children, their caregivers and families through clarification of purpose, engagement and assessment

Qualitative Service Reviews© : An intensive assessment of outcome and system performance trends, based on actual case review interviews. Assistance is available in creating a baseline, targeting challenging populations and developing local capacity to employ the approach. Learn more at these links:

Download QSR Information PowerPoint

Download QSR Basics PowerPoint 

Safe Case Closure: A two-day training in identifying cases ready to move toward closure, addressing reengaging families, reaching agreement on a course of action, addressing remaining issues and connecting sustainable informal supports

Strategic Planning: Consultation on structuring organizations and implementation planning in support of strengthening front-line practice

Strength-Based Assessment and Individualized Case Planning Training: This two-day or three-day training is linked to engagement training and addresses identifying functional strengths and underlying needs necessary to craft individualized child and family plans

Strengthening Supervisors as Coaches and Mentors Training: A two-day training providing guidance in setting expectations, modeling skills, providing strength-based feedback and coaching. Click here to learn more

Supervisory Coaching: Providing coaching to supervisors in Family Centered Practice and Supervision

Support System Development of a Core Practice Model A practice framework outlines the crucial values and principles that underline any approach to working with children and families. The framework is the foundation of a strong child welfare system in any setting. Click here to learn more

Comprehensive Assessments

In addition to providing training and coaching in all areas of child welfare practice, CWG also has the capacity to conduct comprehensive assessments of child welfare systems, including key aspects of functioning such as workforce, policy, budgeting, resource development and utilization, workforce, workload, and organizational culture and climate. Such assessments typically yield recommendations for changes needed to promote optimum outcomes for children and families. Systems assessments have been conducted by CWG in the following cities, counties, and states:

  • Arkansas
  • Broward County, Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Oklahoma
  • Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
  • Sonoma County, California
  • South Carolina
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Washington, DC Neighborhood Collaboratives

Cross-State Technical Assistance 

Provided training and coaching for the multi-site Community Partnerships for Child Protection Initiative in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jacksonville, Florida, St. Louis Missouri, and Louisville, Kentucky.  This was conducted in partnership with the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Technical Supports


Supported the Child Welfare Quality Assurance Division of the Alabama State Department of Human Resources toward their goal of improving the collaborative work between state staff and county staff  

Observed and coached outcome oriented de-briefings of Quality Service Reviews. (QSR)

Coached Practice Specialists in engaging county leaders in creating a long-term vision for their county's success.   

Facilitated agency planning to meet technology and workforce needs.  


Conducted qualitative practice review of managed behavioral health care 

Developed engagement skills curriculum, both training and training of trainers for Arizona′s child mental health case managers 

Trained Phoenix (Value Options) managed behavioral health care staff in the child and family team process


Comprehensive, high-level evaluation of their system requested by Governor A. Hutchinson in 2016 conducted, in partnership with Casey Family Programs

Evaluated practice quality and law enforcement child protection role  


Joined with the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement to conduct an evaluation of child welfare practice in Sonoma County.

CWPPG director appointed chair of Advisory and Monitoring Panel formed to oversee the settlement in the Katie A. federal lawsuit in Los Angeles 

Training and ongoing support for the DCFS and DMH joint QSR process


Piloted three-day intensive training course in family engagement skills


Provided training in family team conferencing to trainers in Florida’s child welfare Professional Development Centers 

Completed qualitative practice reviews of the following districts in Florida’s privatized child welfare system: 

  • Broward County (District Ten) 
  • Seven of the districts of Florida’s Department of Children and Families  
  • Qualitative practice review in Dade County (Miami) Florida pursuant to the Rilya Wilson case          

Conducted an independent, third party evaluation of child welfare privatization Provided family team conferencing training for District child welfare staff 

Coached supervisors in Family Centered Practice 

Provided training in Quality Service Review  


Conducted training and coaching for Georgia′s child welfare staff in the implementation of the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act  

Conducted a qualitative practice evaluation of child welfare.

Evaluated the Georgia Training Academy 

Provided coordination and training for Georgia′s annual foster parent institutes 

Provided practice training and coaching for CPS staff in Fulton County (Atlanta) 


Developed the engagement skills curriculum and provided training and training of trainers for Hawaii′s child mental health case managers 


Extensive provision of training, coaching and support around child and family teaming; facilitation skills, best practices

Conduct Quality Service Reviews

Training, mentoring and support for staff around the QSR process


Conducted comprehensive assessment of state's child welfare system as requested by the governor in 2018; 

Assisted in developing and implementing the Quality Service Review process. 

Developed new training curricula, trained and coached staff 


Conducted targeted child welfare review focused on intake, assessment, in-home services, workforce, and workload.  

Observed family team meetings for family participation and response  

Joined with the Center for the Study of Social Policy in reviewing the implementation of alternative response. 

Evaluated frontline child welfare practice. 

Trained staff in the qualitative practice assessment process 

Joined with the American Humane Association to review CPS practice.  


Coached and supported frontline staff in strengthening families  

With support from Casey Family Programs, conducted a comprehensive assessment of the child welfare system.

Trained and coached staff in family team meetings


Delivered training in family team conferencing to child welfare trainers, supervisors and caseworkers, statewide 


Trained St. Louis juvenile probation officers in family team conferencing 

New Jersey 

Trained and coached family engagement, family team conferencing, assessment, planning and intervention, and strengthening case manager visiting practice for the New Jersey Child Welfare System 

Assisted the child welfare system in developing the Quality Service Review process 

New York 

CWPPG director appointed to the five-person federal court panel, overseeing and advising New York City′s implementation of a class action child welfare settlement agreement 

With the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provided assistance in the development of the New York City Administration for Children′s Services training curriculum.  

Provided frontline practice training in Westchester County, NY 

Provided coaching to individual supervisors with focus on enhancing leadership skills, conducting unit meetings and case conferencing


Designed and delivered training in engagement skills, strength-based assessment and case planning to child welfare staff.  

Conducted a review of decision making in child removal in the Department of Human Services.

Conducted training for child welfare supervisors

Provided coaching to individual supervisors with focus on enhancing leadership skills, conducting unit meetings and case conferencing


Joined with the American Humane Association and The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement, to conduct a performance review of the Department of Children and Family Services in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio 


Assisted the Pennsylvania child welfare system in implementing the Quality Service Review.  

Provided family team conferencing training and coaching in Allegheny county. 

Conducted a comprehensive assessment of the Improving Outcomes for Children child welfare redesign in Philadelphia County.

South Carolina 

CWGGP Director one of two court-appointed monitors for the state’s Michelle H. child welfare settlement agreement. 

Provided a workforce assessment and recommendations for S. Carolina Department of Social Services.


The CWPPG Director served on a court-ordered technical assistance committee formed pursuant to a class action child welfare settlement agreement. 

Provided training and coaching in QSR design and implementation


Served as court monitor in the David C. child welfare settlement agreement between the National Center for Youth Law and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services 

Designed the basic competency curriculum for Utah child welfare staff, trained trainers in its use (engagement skills, assessment skills, teaming, case planning and implementation) and provided follow-up consultation and coaching for trainers and system staff 


Assisted Virginia to implement the Qualitative Service Review process 

Provided family engagement skills training  

Washington, DC 

Evaluated frontline child welfare practice in the eight Neighborhood Collaboratives.

Provided frontline practice training for FLOC, a Washington, DC neighborhood collaborative 

Conducted a Quality Service Review for the Washington DC special education system. 

Provided coaching to in-home and out-of-home supervisors for the Child and Family Services Agency 

Provided training and coaching to a children′s mental health case management provider 

Washington State 

Conducted an Organizational Assessment of the Child Welfare System in Spokane jointly with the National resource Center for Organizational Improvement.


Assisted in developing and implementing the Quality Service Review process. 

Developed and implemented new child welfare training curricula


Training and coaching in family team meetings


"This is the best organized, best presented, best modeled, best constantly adjusting to the learning situation that I have ever experienced. I have had many years of top notch academic and military training; this was by far the best training I have ever received."

"Very good trainers, kept you wanting to learn more. Interesting material, made me feel more comfortable with holding my own team meeting."

"Probably the best training I've ever had. Even though the concepts were familiar, my eyes were opened to some of the things we blindly overlook. Enjoyed case documentation exercise and being reminded to watch how we see things that are not factual."

"The trainers were excellent! Very engaging and knowledgeable. They presented the material clearly and in a manner that made training enjoyable."

"The training overall was great. The trainers really modeled all the skills necessary to follow through with the real process."

"Excellent trainer. I hope to serve our clients in a more productive manner!!!"

"It was a learning experience and it motivated me to approach my staff in a positive manner by identifying their strengths and developing an efficient work plan."

"The trainers were just wonderful. Very helpful and provided individualized help and attention. Please come back to see us again."

"Two of the best trainers were sent to us. They were highly effective. They not only stood in front of us, they came to our office and went to the field which strongly attributed to our learning and retention."

"Once again, the trainers are fantastic at taking something positive out of every answer/response from the group (no matter how off the wall)."

Practice Publications

Adopting a Child Welfare Practice Framework

A description of the history and importance of creating a practice framework or model of practice.
Click here to learn more

Implementation of Alabama's R. C. Consent Decree: Creating a New Culture of Practice

A description of the first years of shaping strength-based, individualized practice system-wide, guided by a principle-driven model of practice.
Click here to learn more

The History of Family Team Conferencing

The history and development of the Family Team Conferencing model.
Click here to learn more

The Qualitative Service Review Process

This document describes our approach to evaluating the quality of frontline practice, introduced to twelve states by The Child Welfare Group. The process served as the model for the core review component of the federal CFSR.
Click here to learn more

CWG: The Functional Assessment Process 

This document describes an approach to the child and family assessment process in a family teaming environment.
Click here to learn more

Milwaukee Service and Placement Needs Report

The following Study of Service, Support and Placement Needs in the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare was conducted by The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group and issued May 29, 2009. The study addresses the issues of frequent placement changes by children in out-of-home care and the lack of appropriate placement options for children entering and already placed in out-of-home care.
Click here to learn more

Family Team Conferencing in Domestic Violence Cases
Guidelines for Practice

Produced by: The Family Violence Prevention Fund and The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group
Click here to learn more