Professional Development and Training

Professional Development and Training

The Professional Development and Training program is dedicated to providing Division of Family and Children Services professionals with the knowledge base to effectively work with the complex situations they face. Professional Development and Training promotes advanced knowledge and practice and targets the training needs of Division staff who have been in the field at least 18 months or longer or have completed the new worker training requirements. Training courses count towards the yearly 20-hour professional development requirement for Division staff.



Professional Excellence classes are available by request and can be scheduled in your local area. To request a class or for any further questions, please email request to: Tanya Davis, [email protected]


All DFCS training courses listed on the online training and registration site, qualify for professional development hours. 20 training hours are required annually July 1st.-June 30th.

Who can attend Professional Excellence professional development courses:

  • All DFCS staff employed with the State of Georgia for 18+ months
  • Newly employed DFCS case managers who have completed the new worker training courses required within the first two years of their hire date
  • OFI supervisors and case managers are encouraged to attend courses of interest to them

Click on the title of each course to view a description of it.

This training is a one-day workshop for DFCS staff who have been selected to be Field Practice Coaches for new case managers. Social Services Supervisors may also participate. Field Practice Coaches must have an approved application from Education and Training in order to take this course. Participants will become familiar with the sequence of activities a new worker completes leading to certification and the role of Field Practice Coach to mentor and coach the new employee through the training process. Participants will have an opportunity to assess and practice their coaching skills. The Field Practice Coach Program was initiated to support and expedite the training process for new case managers as they progress through Georgia’s Child Welfare System, and this course is required for eligible staff to become certified as a Field Practice Coach. To access the Field Practice Coach manual that contains the training guide and the forms to apply to be a coach, click on the following link The user ID is: FPG and the password is: FPG.
Human Trafficking is a growing problem both nationally and in Georgia.  Because DFCS employees come into contact with a wide variety of people, they may be one of the first people to observe that someone needs help. The Human Trafficking online course provides important information on this topic, and will assist DFCS staff in identifying and assisting people who may be possible victims.  The Division has mandated that all State Office, Regional Staff, County Directors, Program Administrators, Supervisors and Case Managers complete this training course. This course is available on the DFCS online training system.
This course is designed for staff who observe, interview, assess risk, place, and treat child and adolescent victims of maltreatment. Information on current research and best practice regarding interviewing and eliciting information from children and youth will be presented. Participants will collect a variety of interviewing tools in their “bag of tricks” for use when talking with children. Specific tools that require instruction will be fully demonstrated. Participants will leave the training with a host of new tools and interview aids to assist them in their daily practice and work with children/adolescents. This course is recommended for Social Services staff.
Do you desire practical tools that you can use when assessing caregivers and children? Then, this class is for you. It will teach you observation skills that will help you assess a family’s strengths and challenges as well as observe the connections and the "dance" between caregivers and their children. You will learn tools that researchers and practitioners have developed to help you sharpen your skills in observing families with children from infancy to youth. You will learn the skills to observe, document and create effective recommendations for family systems. This course is recommended for Social Services staff responsible for assessing and working with families.
This course focuses on the importance of fathers in children’s lives, the current research related to father involvement, and how this information can be applied throughout the child welfare continuum of services. The course includes strategies for identifying, locating and engaging fathers in the casework process, and is designed to equip case managers and supervisors to work successfully with fathers in a wide range of family situations and structures.
This course is designed to help participants answer the question, “What is going on with this teen and what can I do to help him/her?” In the first section of the training, Talking about Teens, participants learn about adolescent development and behaviors, potential feelings of teens involved with DFCS, and specific health and development issues that teens experience. In the second section, Talking with Teens, participants learn how to effectively engage teens in order to help them make positive movement toward a healthy adulthood. Topics include: communicating with teens, using a positive youth development approach, permanency, and case management strategies. This course is recommended for Social Services staff.
If your work environment could use a boost, then why not have a FISH Philosophy workshop in your office? This fun and enjoyable workshop will encourage staff to explore their attitudes, challenge them to be there for their internal and external customers while making their day, and promote a positive work environment. Staff will leave motivated and energized! This workshop is recommended for all DFCS staff.
This course is designed to educate Social Services supervisors on the primary and secondary traumatic stress aspects of their work. Participants will assess their own personal and professional care and develop an understanding of how to manage direct and secondary trauma. Participants will also learn how to help their staff members manage the responses related to traumatic stress in their work. The course includes instruction on the nature of traumatic stress as well as individual coping skills and social support strategies that, if implemented, may reduce the negative impact on work performance and individual worker well being. This course is recommended for Social Services Supervisors and Field Program Specialists.
This course is designed to provide management’s approach to implementing and maintaining the Family Centered Practice Model. It begins with an overview of the model and identifies requisite standards that affect practice. There are 7 standards of practice that apply  including Agency Management and Leadership; Policies and standards; Qualifications, Workload and Professional Development of Staff; Array of Services; Information Systems; Agency Coordination within the Community and Quality Assurance.
This 4-day course prepares participants to become approved facilitators for Family Team Meetings.  The curriculum covers the basic what, why and when of Family Team Meetings.  Participants will gain a basic understanding of the skills required to facilitate an FTM, including the principles of the change process, skills for building a trusting relationship, family dynamics, and forming partnerships for positive change.  Participants also practice the skills needed for effective facilitation.
This is advanced training for Agency staff who are responsible for the FTM process at the county, regional or state level. Participants may include FTM facilitators, co-facilitators, coordinators, supervisors, Field Program Specialists, and administration. Advanced skill training is offered in facilitating Family Team Meetings that may include the following issues: Family Violence, Substance Abuse, Family Conflicts and Mental Health Issues. In addition, participants are given the opportunity to network with others across the state who share similar job responsibilities.
This course is designed primarily for Social Services Case Managers who do not facilitate or co-facilitate FTM's. The 2-day classroom training encompasses:

  • how case managers can engage families and their informal support system to prepare them for working with the FTM process
  • how to develop individualized family plans, built on underlying needs and functional strengths, within the context of the family team meeting setting
  • documentation of the FTM in SHINES
  • following through with providing services and continued work with the family to complete plans
This workshop is designed to provide frontline case managers with practical skills to effectively communicate complex and difficult information to children and teens. Techniques and strategies for matching interview skills with a child's social and emotional age, skills for interviewing young adults with ADHD, anxiety, depression and developmental disorders will be addressed using videos, scripts and hands-on practice.
Children involved with the child welfare system are likely to have experienced both acute and chronic trauma in environments characterized by adversity and deprivation. It is important for child welfare workers to recognize the complexity of a child's lifetime trauma history and to not focus solely on the single event that might have precipitated a report. This 2-day course gives child welfare workers a broad overview of child traumatic stress, examines the impact of trauma on children in the child welfare system and provides tips on working with providers who deliver trauma-informed care.
Quality Improvement (CQI) Facilitators in their region. This course examines a specific model for performance improvement and the process of performance consulting, including conducting performance analysis and using this analysis to choose and implement appropriate interventions for change. The course also examines how facilitators take a collaborative role with their team and other staff in the CQI process.
This course is the second in the training series to prepare designated DFCS staff to take a facilitative role in the continuous quality improvement (CQI) process by acting as performance consultants within their region. This course focuses on the development of basic group facilitation skills. The course consists of a sequence of instructional segments followed by small group experience and individual practice of a specific aspect of facilitation.
This course provides an overview of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).  It addresses the three areas Georgia is targeting to educate staff on CAPTA compliance.  The three areas include Babies Can't Wait referrals, representation for children in care and requirements for reporting CDNFSI.
This course is designed to increase staff members’ ability to help ensure that children’s well-being needs are met. It focuses on how knowledge about child development, child trauma, educational issues, and children’s physical and mental health needs can be applied to case management activities and used to positively impact well-being outcomes across program areas. The course includes relevant policy and practice and provides strategies and resources to help staff address child well-being needs.
This course is designed to help case managers increase their knowledge and skills related to children being treated with psychotropic medications. Although psychotropic medications can be an important and effective part of a child’s mental health treatment, the use of this medication with children requires careful oversight and monitoring. The course includes relevant policy and practice and provides strategies and resources to help staff take an active role in treatment planning, provision, and monitoring.
This training is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully use the legal system to protect and serve children. Part II (Day two) builds on the legal foundation information presented in Legal Issues I (Day 1).  This class provides an opportunity for participants to apply what they learned in Legal Issues 1 to a mock-trial setting. Each participant will have an opportunity to role play the case manager and prepare his/her case for witnessing in court in order to further develop court skills.
This course will provide staff who have been charged with delivering training in the agency with core skills needed to be effective classroom trainers. Items covered in the course include:
• An introduction to adult learning principles and how they relate to training delivery
• Specific tasks to prepare for training and create a positive classroom environment
• Using specific techniques to increase training effectiveness
Part I - This webinar, participants receive an overview of the Partnering with Dads sequence, including training activities, participation expectations, and how to access online course materials. Participants have the opportunity meet their instructor and to ask questions about the course.

Part II - Online Session: In this session, participants watch videos lectures and complete individual activities in an online environment. Content includes the importance of fathers in children’s lives, the impact of father involvement on child welfare outcomes, and strategies for identifying, locating, engaging, and involving fathers. The online learning activities are accessed via Participants complete activities at their own pace over a 9-day period.

Part III -  Classroom Training: In this classroom session, participants are engaged in a scenario based learning activity and in answering the “now what” question for their own cases. This session is designed to help participants apply what they learned online to families on their caseload and to make strategic decisions on how to improve father involvement.

Who can attend Professional Excellence professional development webinars:

  • All DFCS staff employed with the State of Georgia for 18+ months
  • Newly employed DFCS case managers who have completed the new worker training courses required within the first two years of their hire date
  • OFI supervisors and case managers are encouraged to attend courses of interest to them

Recorded Webinars

Division of Family and Children Services Staff

In order to receive training credit on your training transcript, you will be directed to go to the DFCS external training site at, log in and click on the “Online Training” icon, “Social Services” (if prompted) and the “Webinars” tab to access the webinar category options related to the topic.  You will have access to webinar handouts and receive a certificate after completing the webinar.

Not DFCS Staff? Click below and start learning.

Family Violence/Intimate Partner Violence

Substance Abuse/Addiction/Recovery

Health and Safety

Teen Topics

Psychotropic Drugs/Trauma/Mental Health

Engaging the Family

Enhancing the Work Environment/Stress Management

Policy, Practice, and Evaluation

Special topics