About the Core Practice Model

What is the CPM?

The California Child Welfare Core Practice Model  (CPM) is a statewide effort, led by the counties, to develop and implement a framework to support child welfare practice and allow child welfare professionals to be more effective in their roles. The CPM is intended to guide practice, service delivery, and decision-making. 

The framework of the CPM features several theories that help child welfare workers and leaders better understand those they serve and engage; social workers are familiar with most of them. This framework includes:

  • orienting theories related to historical trauma, attachment, and cultural differences;
  • bio-developmental theories that lend insight into the lifespan development and life transitions of children, youth, and families;
  • intervention theories that address when and how to intervene in order to address and sustain the safety, permanency, and wellness of    children, youth, and families; and
  • organizational theories that further understanding about what is needed at the agency level to support and sustain the Model.

It also features values that guide the implementation of casework components that promote collaborative interactions with clients and practice elements that can be operationalized by social workers in their practice.

A distinctive set of features of the CPM are the foundational behaviors, practice behaviors, and leadership behaviors assumed to be key to creating an environment that is conducive for its implementation in county child welfare agencies. The majority of these behaviors are already included in social work curricula.


Background of CPM Development

California’s child welfare community has a long and respected history of creating and implementing successful approaches to serving children and families. Our state supervised and county-implemented system has provided numerous opportunities at both the state and local levels for the development of innovative practices and initiatives aimed at improving outcomes. However, multiple emerging and established initiatives and practices have impacted our ability to have a consistent statewide approach for child welfare practice.

In 2012, California’s public child welfare community began efforts to develop a California Child Welfare Core Practice Model that is intended as a framework to support our state’s child welfare social workers and leaders in sustaining and improving practice in all California counties. From the beginning the goal of this work has been to create a practice model that guides service delivery and decision-making at all levels in Child Welfare, and that builds on the great work already taking place by integrating key elements of existing initiatives and proven practices such as the California Partners for Permanency (CAPP), Pathways to Permanency (the Katie A. Core Practice Model), and Safety Organized Practice (SOP). The California Child Welfare Core Practice Model amplifies the work that has taken place in California over the past decade-and-a-half to improve outcomes for children and families in all counties, across the state.


Who's Who in CPM?

  • Child Welfare Directors Association - Funding sponsor
  • Child and Family Policy Institute - Leadership and management
  • CalSWEC - Provides partnership and collaboration with Regional Training Acedemies (RTA's) to ensure CPM training and curriculum
  • Regional Training Academies - Partners and sponsors of the Development Circles and developing the tools and resources for implementation of CPM
  • CDSS - supports the CPM through inclusion in their federal performance improvement plans
  • CPM Advisory Committee - Child welfare directors provide ongoing guidance regarding the development and implementation of CPM
  • CPM Faculty - Comprised of current and former child welfare directors, consultants and experts in CPM development and implementation, county staff experienced in practice model development and RTA and CalSWEC staff