College of Management and Human Service

The Muskie School's National Child Welfare Workforce Institute Receives Quality Award

The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI), a partnership between the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and eight universities throughout the nation, has been awarded the 2011 Quality Award by the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA).

Given annually in recognition of outstanding performance in the field of training and development, the award recognizes the ground-breaking development and implementation of the NCWWI Leadership Academy, including two innovative, comprehensive approaches to workforce training: the Leadership Academy for Middle Managers (LAMM) and the Leadership Academy for Supervisors (LAS).

The LAS, offered online, and the LAMM, a hybrid of online and residential learning, build the capacity of the nation’s child welfare workforce at two distinct levels and support organizational transformations that lead to improved outcomes for children, families and communities. Offered at no cost to organizations and individuals, the academies serve as powerful professional development opportunities for those seeking leadership roles within the field to effect change.

The Muskie School’s Freda Bernotavicz, LAS team leader, said of the academies, “Working on the NCWWI Leadership Academy has been a wonderful professional experience for us all.  We are privileged to be part of a national network of people committed to improving outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families.”

Funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Children’s Bureau and Administration for Children & Families, the NCWWI is part of an overall national systems reform effort to build leadership capacity at all levels of the child welfare system. In addition to the Leadership Academy, the Institute provides online resource libraries, assessment services, and peer networking sites. The Leadership Academy team at the Muskie School includes Freda Bernotavicz, Sue Eberseten, Crystal French, Lee Lauritsen, DeeDee Reardon, Gretchen Robbins, Marshall Soloway and Laura Woods-Vachon.

The 2011 Quality Award will be presented at the NSDTA Annual Conference in Madison, Wis., this October.  To learn more about the NCWWI, visit