In a Year of Change, CalSWEC Stands Firm in Its Mission and Makes Inroads in Social Worker Education and Training | April 2019

April 1, 2019

Dear CalSWEC Community,

CalSWEC continues to lead in the field of workforce development for social workers through its 29-year partnership with county, university, regional, and state stakeholders.

During 2018, CalSWEC continued to administer the nation’s largest Title IV-E Stipend Program, expanded its Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Program training opportunities, and in conjunction with county and state stakeholders, co-developed its first aging-related stipend program, the Adult Protective Services (APS) Stipend Program, which will launch in fall 2019. 

CalSWEC was also challenged in 2018 as it completed the “next steps” of its Strategic Plan and experienced changes in terms on its state contracts.


  • CalSWEC realized the reorganization of its Board, which was fully seated in April 2018. The CalSWEC Advisory Board is now composed of 25 representatives from university social work programs, county and state social services, mental/integrated behavioral health care agencies, aging and adult services, Regional Training Academies (RTAs), California Tribal communities, NASW, and the community at large.   
  • A new Board Committee structure was adopted; it is currently being developed to ensure that the stakeholder voice is heard and contributes to Advisory Board recommendations.

  • The Board stepped into the world of “virtual governance” in August 2018 and now alternates its quarterly virtual meetings with in-person meetings.

  • After lengthy study and review, the Advisory Board developed and approved a new membership dues structure. 

These changes have been supported by CalSWEC leadership and staff, who have made major individual and team contributions.


CalSWEC’s leadership, staff, and stakeholders responded to several operational, personnel, and budget-related challenges in 2018.

  • CalSWEC experienced a significant turnover in positions during 2018 due to key retirements and resignations. Vacancies were filled through the internal promotions of Tenia Davis, to Director of Child Welfare In-Service Training; Dr. Mike Sumner, to Director of Evaluation and Research; and Mavis Njoo-Lau, to Director of Finance. They were selected for their subject matter expertise, leadership capabilities, and knowledge of CalSWEC operations and stakeholder base.

  • Changes in state contract terms required CalSWEC to take cost-saving measures, including moving into Haviland Hall in December 2018. Office and Events Manager Michelle Perez-Robles facilitated this; we are grateful for her navigating us through this major transition.
  • Changes in state contract terms also resulted in significant cutbacks to previously funded activities and out-of-state travel. Funding for the National Human Services Training Evaluation (NHSTES) and Fairness and Equity Symposia was eliminated. This decision truncates CalSWEC’s ability to convene and participate in national and regional venues that align with its Mission. Remedies for rectifying this situation are being pursued.


In spite of these challenges, CalSWEC stands firm in its Mission to facilitate and support in significant ways statewide partnerships for the education and training of social workers. Following is a summary of some of our major accomplishments:

  • CalSWEC’s Regional Training Academy Coordination contract was restored to a three-year program cycle after the UC Office of the President and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) came to agreement on a 25% indirect cost on CalSWEC contracts for a five-year period.

  • CalSWEC contracted with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) for a one-time allocation of funding to continue the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Stipend Program in 2018–19.

  • CalSWEC implemented the second year of the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET)-funded IBH Stipend Program and rolled out the newly HRSA BHWET-funded IBH and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Training Program.   

  • The CalSWEC Student Information System (CSIS) for the IV-E Stipend Program, originally developed in the 1990s, and its data were migrated from FileMaker to Salesforce. This transition is expected to reduce the amount of staff effort and costs for CalSWEC and subawardee campuses and to improve student and graduate tracking and program evaluation.
  • CalSWEC championed the Child Welfare Core Practice Model (CPM) through its Child Welfare In-Service Training Program, the RTAs, County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), and the Child and Family Policy Institute of California (CFPIC). The CPM is a statewide effort, led by counties, to develop and implement a foundational framework to support child welfare practice, service delivery, and decision-making. CalSWEC has participated in CPM statewide county child welfare Directors Institutes and learning sessions and hosts CPM implementation resources on its website.
  • The Child Welfare In-Service Training Program convened the NHSTES, which included keynote addresses by social work faculty and presentations by social work educators, social work researchers, evaluators, administrators from 10 universities across the nation, the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland, Los Angeles County DCFS, and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. 

  • The Child Welfare In-Service Training Program launched the revision process for the statewide Supervisor Core Training Program to be implemented in 2019. The revised training program will include a statewide standardized curriculum for newly promoted supervisors and a revised dashboard reporting and evaluation model facilitated by CalSWEC’s Evaluation and Research unit. The In-Service Training Program also initiated revision of the statewide standardized training program for new child welfare workers, Common Core, to update it for continued alignment with legislation and child welfare practice behaviors.

  • The Title IV-E Stipend Program supported subawardee campuses in significant ways. It convened statewide program conference calls with IV-E Project Coordinators, communicated with the California Merit Systems Services to coordinate workforce development efforts, and sponsored and organized the 2018 CalSWEC Title IV-E Summit, which 350 social work students, social work educators, and allied professionals attended.

  • Based on requests from the CalSWEC Advisory Board Committees and the Title IV-E Project Coordinators, the Title IV-E Stipend Program submitted a proposal to CDSS to increase funding for the SERVE program to identify and recruit Native American students seeking social work degrees.

  • The Evaluation and Research unit collected data for two retrospective studies of CalSWEC stipend program recipients, the 2018 MHSA Stipend Program Retrospective Survey and the 2018 Title IV-E Retrospective Survey. The data from these studies will lend insight to the workforce development and career pathways of stipend graduates. Survey data will be disseminated to the CalSWEC community and used to support program planning and advocacy efforts around continued funding for these programs.
  • Besides projects such as revising the Common Core eLearning courses, the Technology and Instructional Design unit facilitated efforts to establish a proposed statewide learning management system for child welfare in-service training.

  • Between its April 2018 launch and the end of the year, CalSWEC’s website, which hosts the CPM web pages, served an impressive 35,926 users and logged 167,865 page views. CalSWEC also launched its new YouTube channel, CalSWEC Online.

  • Faculty representatives from the Hogeschool van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Indonesia, and the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland visited CalSWEC, which is considered a model child welfare education and training program by international colleagues.


CalSWEC will continue to “connect the dots” between emerging trends and social work workforce development needs by sustaining current efforts and preparing for future workforce development initiatives.

  • CalSWEC partnered with the CWDA and the CFPIC in fall 2018 to develop a $10 million budget request for child welfare training and workforce development, which the state Legislature will consider in spring 2019.
  • CalSWEC continues to partner with CDSS, the Adult and Aging Committee of the Bay Area Social Service Consortium, and the San Francisco Human Services Agency on the implementation of the APS Stipend Program in fall 2019.
  • CalSWEC will reassess the current status of its 5-Year Plan for currency, alignment with its mission, and relevance to contract specifications, workload, and finances.

  • CalSWEC will focus more acutely on creating a robust development plan to leverage funding for innovative and cutting-edge activities not afforded by current contracts. This plan will be based on the organization’s needs and Mission. The recent approval of a new membership dues structure is a first step.


Virginia Rondero Hernandez
Executive Director and Principal Investigator, CalSWEC

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