Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Maine Child Welfare Training Institute

For over 15 years the Muskie School has developed and implemented child welfare training for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Completed Projects Continuing Education for Child Welfare Professionals and Licensed or Approved Resource Families delivers training to new and experienced Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) staff, Tribal representatives, other professionals and licensed or approved resource families (licensed foster parents and approved adoptive kinship care providers). Training includes national and statewide practice standards, statutory basis and parameters for intervention, current practice, social work principles, and the OCFS Practice Model and policies that govern the delivery of services to achieve outcomes of safety, permanency and well-being for families and children.

Introductory Training for Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Families provides prospective resource families–foster parents, adoptive parents, and kinship care providers, including Native American resource families–the knowledge needed to work effectively with children, their families and other professionals with whom they will interact as caregivers. Training encourages participants to explore their motivations for becoming a resource family, learn how it will affect their family system, and identify necessary resources and areas needing further development. Knowledge of the systems with which they will interact, effects of abuse and neglect, significance of birth-family connections, effects of separation, importance of lifelong family connections and permanency are emphasized.

Caseworker Pre-Service Training Program delivers holistic competency-based training to new child welfare social workers, including Native American Child Welfare social workers and Domestic Violence Advocates working in child welfare. Training provides knowledge of national and statewide practice standards, the legal basis for the work, the parameters for intervention, and current social work and casework ethical standards. It also teaches skills for interviewing children in child abuse and neglect situations (Fact-Finding Child Welfare Protocol), methods of partnering with families using safety mapping, and skills to help families and their partners plan for their children’s safety and complete the necessary documentation.

Child and Family Services – Children Transportation trains drivers transporting children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on early childhood development and communication, the dynamics of child abuse, transportation safety, and OCFS policies regarding transportation.

Professional Development, Applied Research and Technical Assistance in Child Welfare provides training and other professional development services, research, and technical assistance to OCFS staff on priority projects and initiatives. Objectives include developing programs and processes to more efficiently respond to state and federal mandates, take action related to the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) Program Improvement Plan and integrate the OCFS Practice Model.

Practice Model Implementation supports improved investigative findings through training and implementation of a Fact-Finding Child Interview Protocol. Sustainable system changes in interviewing practice enable staff to complete more accurate assessments, recognize and articulate strengths and challenges with families, and more accurately correlate maltreatment with parental behavior. Improved assessments ensure that child and family plans address issues/concerns and promote child safety, permanency and well-being.

Training Evaluation and Testing provides training program evaluation to OCFS management and staff, designing the evaluation and developing processes to more efficiently respond to state and federal mandates. This project also helps integrate the OCFS Practice Model into training for improved service delivery.

Project URL: 

MYTC 2014 Celebration

Colby Swettberg, May 2014, MYTC

Every year the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative brings together youth and adult partners from around Maine to celebrate the year's achievements and milestones.

MYTC’s fourth annual celebration dinner was held at the Brunswick Hotel and Tavern on May 13, 2014. Over seventy young adults, adult partners, professionals, legislators, adoptive families, and friends came together for an evening of fun, renewed connections, learning, and good food.

The importance of mentors in the lives of young people was the theme for the evening. The keynote speaker, Colby Swettberg, Executive Director of Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring in Boston, was introduced by Jacob Hills. Ms. Swettberg talked about what good mentor-mentee relationships look like for youth in foster care and led a discussion about best practices and challenges to bringing youth and mentors together.

Learn More

Connect With Us