Publicly Accessible Free Online Courses

This section provides links to publicly accessible free e-learning courses as well as links to courses accessible through Regional Training Academies. Some courses are more simplistic in nature and will not require specialized software or equipment. Video and audio clips may be included in other courses and may require additional software or equipment.

The following courses were developed specifically to educate and train social workers in these content areas:

  • Child welfare
  • Mental and Behavioral Health

They are offered here for free to the public in hopes that the content will prove useful for other members of the CalSWEC community—foster parents, resource families, public health nurses, Tribal members, juvenile probation officers, and others.

For assistance:

Child Welfare

Academic Writing in Social Work
Description: This course provides insight and practice opportunities to help the learner prepare for and improve academic writing skills. The learner may navigate freely through the course. There is no audio component. Course completion is not tracked or recorded.

Bonding and Attachment in Maltreated Children
Description: The Child Trauma Academy presents principles of bonding, attachment, and identification of concerning behaviors in children.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Awareness
Description: This course is designed to provide a broad overview of three types of Human Trafficking and information regarding the ongoing research on the topic, narrowing in on CSEC and Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST).

The Cost of Caring: Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Impact of Working with High-Risk Children and Families
Description: The Child Trauma Academy presents information about burnout, stress, and secondary traumatic stress. The course describes factors that increase and/or decrease risk and staff are encouraged to create protective strategies.

Documentation Practice and Report Writing
Description:  This e-learning module provides tips and best practices for documentation of casework activities including writing case notes, case plans, and court reports.

ICWA: Inquiry and Notice
This courses describes the purpose and principles of ICWA, identifies the types of cases covered, summarizes the process of initial and further inquiry, identifies roles, best practices and primary resources on Tribes.

Key Issues: Behavioral Health
– Levels of treatment and case planning 
– Indicators of substance abuse and relapse 
– Dynamics of substance abuse and impact on families in a child welfare setting

Key Issues: Intimate Partner Violence
– Definitions of Intimate Partner Violence
– Intervention Strategies
– Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on children in a child welfare setting

Key Issues: Substance Use Disorders

– Levels of treatment and case planning
– Indicators of substance abuse and relapse
– Dynamics of substance abuse and impact on families in a child welfare setting

Leadership Academy for Supervisors: Core Curriculum
Description: The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute presents curricula that include one introductory module and five content modules. Content includes leadership, building collaboratives, workforce development, accountability, and goal setting. To take the orientation module, visit To learn more about the curriculum, visit 

Overview of Assessment Procedures
Description: This module differentiates between safety and risk; includes identifying family strengths, worries, and protective actions; and provides an overview of the Structured Decision-making, policies, and procedures. 

Overview of Resource Family Approval (RFA)
Description: RFA is a family-friendly and child-centered caregiver approval process that combines elements of the current foster parent licensing, relative approval, and approvals for adoption and guardianship processes and replaces those processes.

Psychotropic Medication in Foster Care
Description: This training module contains three sections. The first section is an overview of psychotropic medications, what they are, and why they are used, as well as some information about potential side effects. The second section will cover the basics of trauma-informed care and how it relates to medication in foster care settings. It will also give a brief description of treatment planning and the use of Child and Family Teams. In the third and final section, we will explore the Juvenile Court process for authorization of psychotropic medication, and the forms used in that process.

Understanding Substance Use Disorders, Treatment and Family Recovery: A Guide for Child Welfare Professionals
This tutorial will provide an introduction to alcohol and drug addiction, information about substance abuse treatment and recovery, treatment readiness and effectiveness, and cross-system communication and collaboration.

Mental/Behavioral Health

  • The California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS) offers different types of e-learning platforms for public mental health staff, managers, and students.
  • CIBHS Online Learning webpage is where you will find links to current webinars, and conferences and training on the CIBHS YouTube Channel. These are intended to provide information in a timely and convenient manner to public mental health staff, managers, and students.
  • CIBHS also provides e-learning courses housed on a learning management system. Continuing education credits are often available for purchase with these courses.