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The goal of the Maine Child Welfare Supervisory Academy is:


Overview of the role of the supervisor:

The supervisor is the linchpin of the organization responsible for managing people and performance.  To be effective, supervisors need a number of supports.  These include external factors such as standards, policy, expectations and training as well as recognition by supervisors themselves of the importance of supervision, its impact and a willingness to seek feedback and improve on their performance.  (Appendix #1) is a graphic based on Tony Morrison materials of the supports needed for effective supervision.

Supervisory Standards

Recognizing that clear performance expectations are needed for supervisors to be effective, the agency went through a lengthy process to review and update the standards for supervisors to make them consistent with the agency practice model.  (Appendix #2)


While performance expectations tell us what supervisors are expected to do on the job, competencies tell how they are expected to perform.  The competencies for supervisors are based on the Maine state government performance management system and include core competencies, communication skills, managerial competencies and some competencies specific to child welfare.  This listing links to the supervisors’ own performance management and appraisal process (Appendix #3).

Professional development resources for supervisors

There are four primary areas of professional development in terms of level of experience of the Supervisor or potential Supervisor beginning with pre-supervisor and going through pre-manager.  A chart showing the levels of supervisory training from pre-supervisor to pre-leadership is included as (Appendix #4).

Pre-Supervisor Preparation: any caseworker or other staff member who is considering becoming a supervisor may explore the expectations and responsibilities of this role by participating in trainings offered at this level. Intended to identify and begin to develop those skills needed and to increase knowledge of child welfare in the broader world of social services/social work and of the supervisory role, the workshops are:

        Reflective Practice (Kolb and Emotional Intelligence)

        Advanced Facilitation


Information about licensing requirements also needs to be provided.

New Supervisor Training: training required by OCFS (through CWTI) and DHHS (through SETU) of all new child welfare supervisors in the first two years on the job.  This includes:

  • Orientation for New Supervisors (CWTI) (1 day offered quarterly as preparation for Supervisory Enhancement training)
  • Supervisory Enhancement training (CWTI) (two 2-day workshops using Tony Morrison curriculum)
  • Screening, Hiring and Evaluating Staff (CWTI) (2 days)
  • Using Data in Supervision (CWTI) (1 day)
  • Managing in State Government (SETU)  (2 days)
  • Administrative responsibilities for legal issues such as sexual harassment and domestic violence in the workplace, workers compensation, FMLA, ADA, EEO, Injury Reports, ergonomics, cultural diversity (SETU)

An orientation checklist for new supervisors needs to be developed as a work aid.

Experienced Supervisor Training: this is the training intended for those supervisors seeking to increase their professional knowledge and status and who desire to achieve Certification.

  • Pre-requisites: Supervisor who has completed probation and is in good standing and has permission of the District PA; assumed to occur after one full year as a supervisor
  • Completion of the required training for New Supervisors listed above.
  • Certificate Program: Academy’s Core Training to consist of 10 days of training and on-the-job learning experiences resulting in a Certificate.

Leadership/ Pre Manager Training: not limited to supervisors with certification, but limited to at least second year supervisors, the purposes are to:

  • Increase supervisory skills
  • Increase awareness of the work done on a statewide level, with the Federal Department (why do we need a PIP and how to develop one instead of being in the role of meeting already determined individual goals), quality assurance
  • Increase awareness of opportunities and responsibilities in the next level of management and in central office overseeing work on another level (not case, or worker, or unit specific)
  • Develop skills for representing the Department in the community (on an other than case level) and working with other systems; workgroups; collaboration
  • Program and policy development

Mentoring and Coaching:  all levels can participate in Mentoring and Coaching through the Supervisory Enhancement Initiative (SEI) an individualized program offered in District Offices.



The OCFS Supervisory Academy Certificate Program is designed to support supervisors with two or more years experience in the position to advance their skills and practice towards the leadership and organizational role they can play.  Supervisors are seen as the linchpin for organizational success and as feeding the succession plan within the child welfare agency.  Certification is designed to support excellence in required competencies for the supervisory role and to support the ongoing professional development of each supervisor as s/he considers the multiple ways s/he may serve the agency.  The Certificate program includes a mix of classroom learning and field experiences (self-assessments, professional development and guided practice).   

This program is delivered to one cohort at a time, offering participants the following:

        Six modules of training and experiential learning focused on key aspects of the supervisory role and supervisory development for a total of ten days of classroom learning;

        Intersession field assignments designed to apply content and offer opportunities for self- and agency- assessment;

        The support of a team of three Field Consultants available to provide mentoring and ongoing coaching and assessment in partnership with the supervisor;

        Seventy Continuing Education Credits (pending approval) towards Social Work Licensure; and

        Ongoing individual and group support and learning opportunities to improve day-to-day practice throughout the 18 month program.

A description of the modules and field experiences is included as (Appendix #5). 

Workgroup and Work Plan

The concept and outline for the Certificate Program was developed by a Workgroup of experienced supervisors in the spring of 2006 and approved by the Senior Management Team.  Since that time, the group has participated in a series of meetings to continue the and to provide feedback to consultants.  The goal is to begin implementation in January 2007 and graduate the first cohort in June 2008.  The work plan for the design and delivery of the program is included as (Appendix #6).

Criteria for Participation

The Certificate program is designed for experienced supervisors with a minimum of two years experience.  Criteria for participation, including selection and certification, are included as (Appendix #7).

Field Consultants

Each participant in the program is linked with a team of three Field Consultants whose role is to support, assess and guide participants in their development of a learning portfolio.   A description of the role of the Field Consultants is included as (Appendix #8).





Module I: Getting Started: Overview of the Certification Process

In this module, all participants in the cohort meet with the instructor for detailed description of the program and requirements. Activities and content for ‘Getting Started’ are designed to give supervisors a mini-session of the certification program.

Field Experience: Self Assessments (Type and Learning Inventories); Planning meeting with Field Consultant team

Module II: Managing Ourselves: Self Awareness, Reflective Practice and the Supervisory Role

This module is comprised of self- assessment and knowledge for the foundation of each supervisor’s design for growth.  The focus for self- assessment is to provide increasingly effective supervision using the supervisory relationship as the primary guiding and learning tool for practitioners.  As supervisors integrate their intersession work and the coursework for Module II, they will build a foundation for individualized assessment and planning related to their leadership and supervisory role within the unit and within each supervisory relationship. 

Field Experience: Self Assessment (Conflict management and communication); Guided Practice (Supervisory Session)

Module III: Managing Others: The Supervisor in Relation to the Individual, Unit, and team.

In Module Three, supervisors will integrate the external aspects of emotional intelligence, motivation, and communication to effectively resolve conflict, create a learning culture, and develop effective task and role guidance within the unit to maximize effectiveness. Effectiveness will span the consideration of individualizing supervision to the person and  the developmental cycle for field staff. 

Field Experience: Self Assessment; Guided Practice (Unit Meeting)

Module IV: Managing for Results: Integrating Data, Outcomes, and Performance Standards into daily practice.

In this module, supervisors will work with the National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement and the Academy Instructional staff to integrate managing for results into the supervisory role. This spans the continuum from increasing the effectiveness of case consultation and supervision to setting and meeting performance standards within a unit.  Intrinsic to this work will be the orientation towards ongoing change and the changing field of practice within Child Welfare and Public Service. 

Field Experience: Self Assessment (Locus of Control/Sphere of Influence) Guided Practice (Review of Unit Performance and Targeting areas for Improvement); Identification and outreach to key stakeholders who can assist with performance and outcome goals.

Module V: Leading in the Agency:  Integrating the Unit with the Agency, Community, and Field of Practice

This module is designed to foster ownership of the agency mission, vision, goals, practice model, values, and procedures for each supervisor.  This includes self-responsibility balanced with the responsibility to communicate and seek communication beyond the unit or district office for maximum effectiveness.  Supervisors will have the opportunity to consider and strategize for improvement within and across agencies.  In addition, the group will return to a focus on the supervisory educational role in keeping practice current and continuing to create a learning organization. Placing management in the context of leadership will support supervisors in ongoing proactive practice within their role.

Field Experience: Design and implementation of community or agency wide project; 360 degree assessment; completion of portfolio for review; final meetings with Field Consultants

Module VI: Putting It All Together: Cohort Reporting and Award of the Certificates

The final module will conclude the certificate program by allowing each member of the cohort to present findings and learnings to the larger group, including the field activity consulting teams.  Presentations will be based on the portfolios throughout the 18 month program.  The day will conclude with the awarding of certificates.

Field Consultants
– brief description of their role (Appendix #6 – Frequently Asked Questions)     



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