Leadership Academy Overview

The Leadership Academy develops leaders committed to fostering equitable and positive organizational climates and driving sustainable change. Leaders engage in behaviors that collectively inspire, motivate, and guide child welfare professionals to safeguard children, support family permanency, and enhance child well-being. These behaviors are articulated in the NCWWI Leadership Competency Framework (Framework), a competency model of the knowledge and skills that collectively represent a leader’s approach. The Framework serves as a model to develop, guide, and evaluate leadership at all levels of an organization.

Leadership Academy Structure

Academy participants complete asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities enhanced by leadership development coaching. The modularized curriculum provides explanations and opportunities to apply concepts that reinforce the leadership fundamentals, along with the four quadrants of the NCWWI Leadership Competency Framework (Change, Context, Results, and People). The Academy model includes five online modules and corresponding in-person or virtual participant materials (curriculum available in Trainers and Facilitators tab). Each module includes:

  • Asynchronous online learning
  • Synchronous learning content delivered in person or virtually to role-specific cohorts of 10-25 supervisors, managers, or directors

The Leadership Academy curriculum uses a problem-based, flipped classroom learning format that is based on adult learning principles. Leadership Academy participants: 

  • Engage in scenarios and situation-based activities designed to facilitate critical thinking 
  • Are encouraged to collaborate and promote teamwork 
  • Foster a safe learning environment

Participant Preparation

Before synchronous learning, participants complete preparation activities, which include:

  • Three online foundation modules: Foundations of Leadership and Workforce Development Parts I and II
  • Exploring a change project (see planning tab) aligned with workforce priorities that allows participants to practice and develop their skills
  • Engaging in two or three pre-training Readiness Coaching sessions (see coaching tab)
  • Completing assessments your organization selects, such as the 360° Assessment or CliftonStrengths (see assessment tab)


The Leadership Academy equips participants with the essential skills to navigate  a “whitewater” work environment and anticipate challenges. Effective leaders understand the importance of communicating a compelling vision, charting a course for continuous organizational development, and bolstering workforce training to enhance outcomes. Participation enables leaders to develop skills to manage both aspects of leadership ‒ vision and reality ‒ and practice the resiliency to stand in the tension between the two.  The Academy can also be a powerful strategy to support organizational systems, workgroups, and critical processes such as CFSR, workforce retention, and succession planning.