Spotlight on the Regional Training Academy (RTA) Coordination Project

Ensuring Social Worker In-Service Training for the Past 20 Years

June 27, 2016

At the nexus of California’s county-administered child welfare system and the standardized training of current statewide initiatives is the Regional Training Academy (RTA) Coordination Project at CalSWEC. For the past 20 years, the project has been responsible for the in-service training of tens of thousands of the state’s child welfare social workers and supervisors.

RELATED: View or Download the RTA Fact Sheet

“The RTA Coordination Project is uniquely positioned to ensure the optimal level of coordination and standardization for California’s county-administered child welfare system,” says Director Melissa Connelly, describing the project’s effectiveness.
RTA Coordination Project staff are, from center front, Director Melissa Connelly, and clockwise, Training and Evaluation Analyst Esmirna (Esmi) Ramirez; Training and Curriculum Specialists Melinda Iremonger and Jennifer Cannell; Distance Education Specialist Mauricio Wright; Training and Curriculum Specialists Phyllis Jeroslow, Joanne Pritchard, and Shay O'Brien; and Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) Director Tara Lain. 

RELATED: Dedicated RTA Staff Deliver

RELATED: RTA undergoes staff changes

In 1996, CalSWEC contracted with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to fund the California Public Social Services Training Academy Project to provide in-service training to public agency staff. Over time, this evolved into the current Regional Training Academy Coordination Project

Its work has focused on the following:

  • Recommending the optimal level of statewide standardization for given training initiatives;
  • Coordinating the training and workforce development response to the federal reviews and statewide practice improvement efforts;
  • Overseeing the development of statewide Common Core for child welfare supervisors and social workers; and
  • Reviewing statewide legislative and policy changes, and overseeing the development of curricular tools and training strategies that are designed to implement legislative and policy changes at the state level.

Project’s Impact
“Ongoing collaborative relationships with universities, counties, the Regional Training Academies (RTAs), the University Consortium for Children and Families—Los Angeles (UCCF), and the Resource Center for Family-Focused Practice (RCFFP) enable CalSWEC to gain agreement on statewide initiatives and to develop curriculum and workforce development products that are useful to CDSS and other stakeholders,” explains Ms. Connelly. The RTA project currently works to coordinate statewide workforce development efforts delivered to child welfare social workers, probation officers, and supervisors in California.

The project works in collaboration with partners from CDSS, the RTAs, and the County Welfare Directors Association of California on a number of projects, such as the California Common Core Curricula, the California Child Welfare Core Practice Model, and implementation of system changes, such as Continuum of Care Reform (CCR)

“We have several mechanisms in place to support this collaborative effort, including the Statewide Training and Education Committee (STEC), the Content Development Oversight Group (CDOG), the Technical Team, the Field Activity Advisory Group, and the Pathways to Well-being Workgroup,” says Ms. Connelly.

Dedicated RTA Staff Deliver

Read about the roles and responsibilities of the Regional Training Academy (RTA) Coordination Project's committed staff.