The Central California Training Academy was instituted in Spring 1995 as California's first regionalized competency-based child welfare training academy supported by eight County Social Services Departments. The Academy was the collaborative "brainchild" of the Central California Public Welfare Directors Association, the Dean of the California State University, Fresno College of Health and Human Services, and the chair of the California State University, Stanislaus Department of Social Work Education. Its purpose was to share training ideas, resources, and benefits on a regional level, thereby increasing training consistency, cost-effectiveness and relevance among participating counties. The idea was patterned after similar regionalized training models developed by the States of Ohio and Pennsylvania and was implemented with assistance from the Institute for Human Services (I.H.S.)
In 1995, seeking to establish a continuum of professional social work education and professional in-service training, the Central California Welfare Director's Association formally requested that the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) adopt the Academy's regionalized training model as the primary state-supported method for providing induction and in-service training to child welfare professionals throughout California. In 1996, the Central California Academy became an official part of CalSWEC's education/training partnership with California and state funding for the Academy was established. Subsequently, similar competency-based academies were established in the North (UC Davis), Bay Area (S.F. State University), Los Angeles (Inter-University Consortium) and South (San Diego State University). The five California "Academies" work cooperatively to assure that California professionals receive consistent, high-quality training that orients staff to the social and professional expectations associated with child welfare practice.
The Central Academy, in keeping with its history, continues to operate under the leadership of a collaborative Board of Directors comprised of the current 12 County Welfare Directors in the Central Region; the Dean of the California State University, Fresno College of Health and Human Services; the Chair of the Master of Social Work Program at California State University, Stanislaus; the Chair of the Master of Social Work Program at California State University, Fresno; and a representative of the California Department of Social Services. The County Welfare Director's Association-Children's Regional Subcommittee serves as an Advisory Board for all Academy activities/initiatives.
Due to the large geographical area in the central California region, and to enable the Academy project to better serve the twelve counties in the region, four sub-regional training sites have been established. These include Stanislaus, Madera, Merced, and Mariposa Counties in the Northern sub-region; Fresno County in the Central sub-region; Tulare, Kern and Kings Counties in the Southern sub-region; and San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties in the Coastal sub-region. Academy training is held in various locations in each sub-region.