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Meet Charmaine Brittain

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Butler Institute for Families

Feature  •

Charmaine Brittain, Director of Practice Innovation, shares her experiences within child welfare, projects she is involved in and the journey that lead to her connection in the work we do here at Butler Institute for Families.

charmaine brittain

Butler Staff Spotlight - Charmaine Brittain


What interested you in working for Butler? 

I started working with Butler almost from its beginning, first as a contractor to develop some curriculum and then as a partner when I worked at American Humane Association on a joint project. I loved the people at Butler and, as an DU alum, was attracted by the thought of working for the university. I was thrilled when the Institute for Families (before we became Butler) created a position for me. I remember walking into the office that first day in January 2005 and feeling that I had absolutely made the right decision to join the team.


What is your position at Butler? What do you enjoy most about your position? 

Right now, I serve as director of practice innovation, a title that captures only a portion of my role here. At Butler, my work is all about creatively approaching the many projects I lead as a principal investigator/project director or am part of. What I enjoy most about my role is bringing innovative practices to our projects and connecting with our project staff and partners. The synergy of teamwork that leads to fantastic results can be intoxicating!


What projects are you working on currently?

The Fairfax Training System Transformation is one of my major projects. Our team is assessing the training system and developing a new onboarding academy that reflects cutting-edge practices. We've worked with them for more than three years, and it's been an incredibly rewarding experience with phenomenal results.

I’m also the principal investigator for the Virginia Department of Social Services Training System Reassessment; we are revisiting the assessment we conducted in 2017 to understand the current state of their training system using Butler’s Training System Assessment Tool. We also conducted a national scan of child welfare training practices to jumpstart Virginia's training system with the latest best practices. In phase 2, we'll be diving deep into their benefits training and conducting a survey and listening sessions, as well as doing a national scan by interviewing 20 states about their approach to benefits training.

Additionally, I’m principal investigator for the Colorado Child Welfare Attorney Training Project, and we’re developing online modules and other products to promote a multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional approach with all the parties involved in Colorado's child welfare legal system.


What are the outcomes you hope for with this project? How will this project impact the community? 

For all projects, we're hoping to elevate practice to ultimately improve retention of workforce staff and support better outcomes for children and families.

Learn more about Butler's early childhood, child welfare, tribal child welfare, & behavioral health initiatives

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