Number 3 August 2000
Getting the Most Out of the
300 Series (And All Training)
Every good carpenter knows that to get
the job done right you need the right tool, and you need to know how to
use that tool. If you don't follow this rule, the end result is usually
frustration, mistakes, and wasted time.
The same holds true when it
comes to using North Carolina's new child welfare training system. This
system is a tool designed to help social workers gain the knowledge and
skills they need to support families and children. Used correctly, it
is capable of meeting the learning needs of everyone in child welfare,
from new workers to seasoned veterans and supervisors.
A Swiss-Army Knife
When you look at it closely,
our training system seems a bit like a Swiss army knife or another multiple
use toolit has component parts designed to perform different functions.
The 100 series, which for most
people means the preservice curriculum, Child Welfare in North Carolina,
is a foundation training for new workers. The 200 series, as explained
in Training Matters 1(2), is designed
to meet more specialized (but still basic) needs of new workers.
The final component of the
training system, the 300 series, s for workers who possess more than one
year's child welfare experience.
The 300 Series
It is a common misconception
that all the courses offered in the 300 series cover advanced topics or
can only benefit very experienced workers. The truth is, some courses
in this series are advanced and some aren't.
For example, Financial and
Legal Aspects of Adoption is for social workers with more experience,
while courses such as Substance Abuse in Child Welfare Services
and Introduction to Child Sexual Abuse are more introductory in
nature. It would be fair to say, however, that many of the courses in
this series require (and build upon) a high degree of skill among the
To understand why there is
such a mix of difficulty within the 300 series, it helps to remember that
our training system is competency-based. What determines whether a course
is part of the 300 series is whether it addresses competencies that haven't
already been addressed in 100 and 200 series courses.
How to Choose a Course
All together, child welfare
workers in North Carolina now have more than 40 professional development
courses to choose from. New workers are generally clear about which courses
to take and when (preservice, 200 series tier 1 courses, and relevant
200 series tier 2 courses).
Following these courses, unless
they are changing job functions to a new area, there is a simple requirement
that child welfare workers attend 24 hours (4 days) of training.
How should you decide what
to take? It is not hard if you follow the following steps:
Consult your supervisor.
Your supervisor will be aware of your strengths and needs as a practitioner.
Even if they cannot refer you to a specific course, supervisors should
be able to identify areas in which you need to improve. Supervisors may
also suggest you take a course based on the needs of your agency.
Assess your own needs.
Reflect on your work. Is there a particular skill you would like to enhance?
Is there a particular knowledge area that, if you knew more, would help
you better address the needs of the families with whom you work?
To find out about the courses offered through the training system you
can look over your agency's copy of the current training calendar, or
read profiles of the courses on-line at <http://childrensservices.dhhs.state.nc.us/staff.htm>.
Once you have a course in mind that you think will meet your needs, ask
your supervisor and co-workers to see if they have taken this course and
would recommend it.
There is a real risk to skipping
the above steps. If you choose a course at random because you think of
training as simply time away from the office or you are "just getting
your hours in," you may make yourself a prisoner in the classroom,
someone whose apathy and resentment interferes with other people's ability
Make the most your time! Of
the 40 plus courses available, there must be something out there that
is either new to you or that you could benefit from reviewing.
IN THE 300 SERIES
The Path to Permanence
Case Building Toward
A Program to Prepare Families for Fostering or Adoption on an
and Child Maltreatment
Financial and Legal
Aspects of Adoption
Fostering and Adopting
the Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused
Introduction to Child
Introduction to Supervision
for Child Welfare Services
Measure Twice, Cut
Once: Using MEPA/IEP to Develop Foster Family Recruitment and
Model Approach to
Partnerships in Parenting: Group Preparation and Selection (MAPP/GPS)
Money Matters: Foster
Care Funding Basics
My Life's Book: A
Therapeutic Tool in Helping the Child in Foster and Adoptive
Risk Assessment: The
Connector to Family Services Case Plans
Substance Abuse in
Child Welfare Services
Supervisor As Teacher
The Division and its university
and private partners are working on a number of new curricula to add to
the 300 series. In the spring of 2001 there will be new courses offered
on planning and supervising visits, common mental health issues affecting
families and children, and terminating parental rights. Course times and
locations will be published in the Division's spring 2001 training calendar.
Seeking Your Input
Do you have suggestions for topics
for 300 series courses you'd like to see developed? Contact Connie Polk
She'd love to hear your ideas. She'd also like to hear from you if you
have questions or comments about training issues.
© 2000 Jordan Institute