Common Core 3.5

Common Core 3.5 Curricula for Child Welfare Social Workers (NEW)

UPDATE in 2021: The Common Core 3.5 curricula (CC3.5), which is the most current version of California Common Core, was released in phases in 2021.

Only a limited number of existing training cohorts are still using and finishing Common Core 3.0 (instead of Common Core 3.5). For CC3.0 materials, please visit the Common Core 3.0 webpage.


The Statewide Common Core Curricula (CC3.5) is accessed via the California Child Welfare Training System (CACWT). In addition to CC3.5, CACWT currently houses all California mandated statewide training curricula. If you are a trainer affiliated with a Regional Training Academy, please contact the academy for trainer access. If you are not affiliated with a Regional Training Academy, please email for assistance.

The sequence and description of the CC3.5 series can be found in the Passport and Course Description Document.


If you are a  Common Core 3.5 trainer or are a member of the workforce development staff with a Regional Training Academy or the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, we would like to hear from you about how the curriculum can be refined. To provide your comments, please follow these instructions:

1.    Visit the California Child Welfare Training (CACWT) website.

2.    Toggle to your Instructor Role.

3.    Click "Go to LMS" from the Instructor Dashboard.

4.    Next, click "Trainer Resource Community" from the Quick Access card.

5.    Once in the Trainer Resource Community, select “Providing Feedback.”

6.    Then, select “Common Core 3.5 Feedback Form.”

Curriculum Design and Components

The Common Core 3.5 curriculum is mandated statewide to ensure all new child welfare social workers receive the foundational training necessary for competence in the field. It is designed to be standardized and generalizable across the state and introduce new child welfare social workers to the Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM).  Each training within the Common Core Curricula has a set of measurable learning objectives aimed to build the knowledge, skills, and values that are essential to the provision of services to families and children who participate in California’s county child welfare programs.

The CC 3.5 curriculum consists of 10 asynchronous eLearning courses, 19.5 days of synchronous learning (18 classes) and five field activities. The materials for each classroom curriculum include Trainer’s Guides, Trainee’s Guides, as well as PowerPoint Presentations. The Field Activities are covered in the Comprehensive Field Guide.

For a more in-depth glance at both the curriculum design and components, please review this Overview document and Roadmap. These two documents provide foundational information for our training system partners around the creation of the Common Core and required sequence of the series, including evaluation. 

Development Process

California’s Common Core 3.5 Curricula (CC3.5) are the result of a continued dedication to the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) of the original state standardized California Common Core 3.0 (CC 3.0).  This revision was based on feedback gathered from statewide county child welfare agencies, the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), the four Regional Training Academies (RTAs), and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (LA DCFS).  These curricula for child welfare workers are the result of the invaluable work and guidance of a great many people throughout the California child welfare system and across the country.


The California Common Core Curricula is the result of a multi-year statewide collaborative effort to develop standardized curricula for California’s newly hired child welfare supervisors and child welfare social workers. California’s Program Improvement Plan (PIP) mandated the development and implementation of the Common Core as part of the 2003 federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR).

The California Common Core for Child Welfare Social Workers was initially developed in fiscal year 2004–2005 by the Statewide Training and Education Committee (STEC), marking the first implementation of new social worker training that was standardized for the entire state. Common Core is designed to introduce new employees to the (ICPM).  All County Letter 17-17 (ACL 17-17) details the undertaking of creating Common Core 3.5’s predecessor, Common Core 3.0, which was implemented in 2017, and also describes the shift towards developing a curriculum that is rooted in the Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM).


The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), in collaboration with California’s four Regional Training Academies (RTAs) and the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (LA DCFS), maintain the process of evaluating Common Core 3.5. 

The purpose of the evaluations is multidimensional and is designed to:  (1) provide evaluative feedback regarding the curriculum design and its effectiveness to (a) help inform workforce development needs, (b) understand how to best to support trainee learning, and (c) foster a deeper level of learning for future trainees;  (2) explore knowledge acquisition at the aggregate level;  and (3) establish a standard method of evaluating training effectiveness in response to federal requirements in the Program Improvement Plan (PIP) for California.

In order to receive course completion status, trainees will complete all evaluations which will fulfill and maximize the programmatic learning goals and learning objectives outlined for this curriculum.  Individual trainee responses to evaluations will (1) be anonymous, (2) be stored and analyzed by the California Social Work Education Center at University of California, Berkeley, and (3) will only be reported as part of a group of at least 20. 

All evaluation materials for trainers and trainees should be accessed through the California Child Welfare Training (CACWT) system.  Detailed instructions for trainers on how to administer these evaluations are located in the Evaluation Guide, which can be found in the trainer materials section in CACWT.

Trainer Forum

If you are a trainer for the Statewide Common Core Curricula, we invite you to participate in an online Trainer Forum to share ideas, training tips, questions, challenges, and solutions. Your thoughts are especially valued during the current early implementation phase in virtual or classroom training environments.

To join the Trainer Forum, please contact

Citation Guidelines

The curriculum is developed with public funds and is intended for public use.  For information on use and citation of the curriculum, please refer to the CalSWEC Citation Guidelines.

California Statewide Training Curriculum Development Guide

The California Statewide Training Curriculum Guide provides guidance on the key curriculum components needed to provide standardized training in California.


For questions about the Common Core Curricula, please email