Your Fundamentals courses are either

  • Web-based—a course you complete online,
  • classroom—an in-person, facilitated learning experience, or
  • hybrid—a course that includes both web-based and classroom components.

Some also include videos to review before your classroom experience. Download the New Caseworker Checklist for detailed information.

For new caseworkers, Welcome to Colorado Child Welfare (Web-based Training) must be completed prior to attending any other Fundamentals course. All other Fundamentals courses (with the exception of The Fundamentals Practice Simulation and Choose Your Own Trail: Documentation and Practice) may be taken in any order. Caseworkers who are currently certified may take any Fundamentals course at any time.

Select each course to read its description.

Welcome to Colorado Child Welfare (Web-based training)

Course type: Web-based Training (WBT)
Training hours: 5

You must complete this course prior to taking any other Fundamentals course in this series.

As the initial course in the Fundamentals of Colorado Child Welfare Casework Practice series, this interactive, self-guided online training is designed to give you a basic understanding of the Colorado child welfare system. You’ll be introduced to the values, concepts, and practices underlying child welfare practice in Colorado, and you’ll gain an understanding of and become familiar with the following areas:

  • History of child welfare
  • Mission, vision, and values of CDHS
  • Types of abuse and neglect
  • Colorado Children’s Code (Title 19) and Volume 7 (Social Services Rules), which outline and inform child welfare practice in Colorado
  • Programs, resources, and services that caseworkers utilize when working with children, youth, and families
  • Trails, Colorado’s automated case management system.

In addition, you can engage in an assessment of individual learning styles, a process that supports you in identifying professional development and TOL activities that align with how you best learn. With the solid foundation of knowledge built through this WBT, you will be prepared to successfully engage in the remaining Fundamentals courses and for casework practice with children, youth, and families.

You are encouraged to revisit this WBT frequently as it is intended for use as a resource that supports continuous learning on the job.


Hotline and RED Team: Where Assessment With Families Begins

Course type: Hybrid
Pre-classroom learning:
  • Complete the web-based training (3 hours)
  • Complete Mandatory Reporter Training (2 hours)
  • Review videos in the Trails Resource Center, take the quiz, and email it to your facilitator.
Classroom learning: 2 days (13 hours)
Training hours: 16 (awarded when all components are complete)
Two hours for Mandatory Reporter Training will display separately in your account.

This hybrid course—designed to prepare both hotline workers and caseworkers for certification—builds on personal and professional experiences that promote quality customer service and provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to successfully carry out the duties associated with the referral and screening processes.

Through an interactive online experience and an action-oriented classroom experience, you’ll be equipped to conduct solution-focused, safety-organized, informative, and engaging hotline calls. You will also acquire the knowledge and skills you need to meaningfully and effectively participate in the RED (Review, Evaluate, Direct) Team process. Upon completion of this course, you’ll apply your newfound knowledge and skills through several TOL experiences.


Safety Through Engagement

Course type: Classroom
Pre-classroom learning:
Review videos in the Trails Resource Center, take the quiz, and email it to your facilitator.
Classroom learning: 3 days
Training hours: 19.5 (awarded when both components are complete)

This three-day learning experience is an interactive, action-based classroom training experience that uses a problem-based learning model to facilitate growth. With a single complex case scenario interweaved throughout the course, you’ll conduct an in-depth assessment of safety with a family. You will

  • practice identifying, gathering, and weighing the critical information before you;
  • learn how to discern the most relevant and significant factors affecting the child’s safety, permanency, and well-being;
  • appreciate the protective capacities within the family; and
  • determine the family’s ability to promote the safety of the child or youth.

Through the various assessment phases, you’ll gain insight into essential engagement strategies that are child centered and family focused.

You’ll practice balancing safety through engagement as you explore and practice, building trusting relationships with children, youth, and families in a culturally responsive, solution-focused manner while involving the voice of children and youth in casework practices. You’ll not only facilitate an assessment using the Colorado Family Safety and Risk Assessment Tools with families, but you’ll also practice identifying maltreatment, activating your critical thinking skills, and collaborating with multidisciplinary community partners to improve outcomes for families.



Working Toward Closure: Decision Making and Documentation

Course type: Classroom
Pre-classroom learning:
Review videos in the Trails Resource Center, take the quiz, and email it to your facilitator.
Classroom learning: 3 days
Training hours: 19.5 (awarded when both components are complete)

This three-day Fundamentals course is an interactive, action-oriented classroom training. Upon completion, you’ll have a basic understanding of the crucial decisions that inform case planning with families and bring to life the values, concepts, skills, and practices of child welfare in Colorado. You’ll be able to think critically about decision making and planning with families and involve the child, youth, and family—as well as their support networks and other multidisciplinary community professionals—in making important decisions throughout the family’s involvement with child welfare. You’ll practice enacting key decisions, facilitating safety and support planning, making reasonable and active efforts to prevent placement or to plan for placement, planning for permanency, conducting case planning and evaluation, achieving reunification, and closing a case. With the solid foundation of knowledge built through this course, you’ll be prepared to employ casework practices that promote safety, permanence, and well-being with children, youth, and families.


Legal Preparation for Caseworkers

Course type: Classroom
Pre-classroom learning: None
Classroom learning: 2 days
Training hours: 14

This two-day, interactive classroom training dives into the details of each of the key moments in the court process for both dependency and neglect and delinquency cases. Engagement with real case scenarios gives you a hands-on opportunity to practice your skills and participate in a mock shelter hearing. Upon completion, you’ll understand each party’s rights in a case, the purpose of each hearing, and, most important, your role throughout the proceedings. You’ll also be equipped with basic strategies for effectively testifying as an expert witness.


The Fundamentals Practice Simulation

Course type: One-hour simulation + one-day peer review
Preparation and participation: Please see illustration below.
Training hours: 7 (awarded at the completion of simulation and peer review)

You must complete Welcome to Colorado Child Welfare, Hotline and RED Team, Safety Through Engagement, and Working Toward Closure prior to taking The Fundamentals Practice Simulation.

Upon completion of the five previous courses, you’ll participate in the Fundamentals Practice Simulation, in which you’ll demonstrate the competencies learned throughout the Fundamentals courses in a live, case scenario–informed interaction with a real family, played by professional actors. Supervisors, practice coaches, or county training coordinators observe these simulations to assess your demonstration of competence and readiness for certification.

CWTS facilitators are committed to setting you up for success throughout this course and beyond. A transfer of learning activity will be provided to encourage a conversation between you and your supervisor about where and how you will continue to grow in your child welfare practices.


Here’s how to prepare for and successfully complete your Fundamentals Practice Simulation.


Choose Your Own Trail

Course type: Independent Study (with facilitator support via Zoom) and Facilitated Online Learning Experience
Pre-classroom learning:
Review videos in the Trails Resource Center and browse the Trails Modernization job aids and tutorials. Print the Qualitative Case Review Instruments utilized by the Administrative Review Division (Assessment Instrument 8.3 as well as the Administrative Review Instrument V. 9.0). Meet with your supervisor to identify the assessment and case you will review, and ensure you have Trails access.
Classroom learning: 2 days
Training hours: 13

You must complete The Fundamentals Practice Simulation prior to taking Choose Your Own Trail.

This two-day independent study and facilitated online learning—which completes the Fundamentals learning experience—will allow you to practice navigating Trails while considering what it means to provide thorough, meaningful case documentation. You will participate in both days from the comfort of your own office, with live support available from a CWTS facilitator through phone, email, and Zoom. You will leave better equipped to navigate Trails and provide excellent documentation of your hard work as a child welfare professional!

On Day 1, you will utilize the Administrative Review Division (ARD) instruments linked above to review both an assessment and a case in Trails. Through this hands-on learning process, you will log in to Trails, access an assessment and case provided to you by your supervisor, and use the ARD instruments to navigate Trails. You will record the strengths of the documentation, as well as any questions you have, using the ARD instruments.

On Day 2, you will have from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM to complete your review. From 1:00 to 3:00 PM, you will join your CWTS facilitator and your peers to engage in a group coaching discussion and debriefing. You will walk away from this conversation prepared to engage in crucial conversations about documentation and secure in your ability to successfully navigate your first ARD review!

Post-Classroom Learning: Review your completed tools with your supervisor and have them sign. Upload the signed tools under Post-Classroom Activities below, as this is required to get full credit for the course.