Vol. 11, No. 3 July 2010
Update on Child Welfare Training in North Carolina
In 1995, child welfare agencies in North Carolina were under a lot of pressure. Under state and federal law, they had a mandate to ensure the children in every community were safe and well cared for.
This is a desperately important job. To do it well agencies need well-trained professionals who are deeply committed to families.
Like child welfare agencies in many parts of the country, our child welfare agencies had little difficulty finding committed individuals, but they sometimes struggled when it came to attracting and retaining people with the knowledge and skills needed for child welfare work. Indeed, most child welfare workers had no formal social work education.
In 1995 agencies also struggled with worker turnover, which meant counties had to continually recruit and train employees.
Fast forward to 2010. North Carolina’s child welfare agencies face the same pressures they did in 1995.
Today, however, public child welfare agencies have an advantage that they didn’t have in 1995. They have access to an extensive infrastructure designed to support them in their efforts to train child welfare workers.
NC’s Training System
A Continuum of Training. The Division and its partners have developed a continuum of classroom-based child welfare training courses. Each course focuses on developing job-relevant knowledge and skills. A range of courses has been created to meet the needs of all workers and supervisors, even those with years of experience. Every course is thoroughly evaluated.
Regional Training Centers. To make training more accessible and affordable, the Division has training centers in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Kinston. These centers reduce agency travel costs and time away from the office for child welfare staff. Learn more about them at: <www.ncswlearn.org/help/siteinfo.aspx>
Timely, Specialized Training. The Division responds in a timely way when urgent training needs arise. An example of the Division’s responsiveness is the training it offered to help counties understand and implement recent changes to the Risk Assessment (DSS-5230) and Risk Reassessment (DSS-5226) tools.
ncswLearn.org. This gateway web site allows child welfare workers and supervisors to take online courses, find training events at a glance, apply online to register for training, track their training attendance history, review which courses are required, recommended, or elective, and much more.
To learn more about what’s offered through North Carolina’s child welfare training system, visit <www.ncswlearn.org>.
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Two Advanced Child Welfare Courses Go Online
Beginning July 1, 2010, the NC Division of Social Services, in partnership with Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, is proud to offer two advanced online courses for child welfare social workers and supervisors employed with North Carolina county DSS agencies.
Understanding Child Mental Health Issues
In this course, participants (a) complete an interactive self-paced online session (approximately 8–10 hours), (b) take a knowledge assessment, and (c) participate in a 2.5 hour live online session focusing on the impact of a child’s mental illness on permanency planning. During this live session participants have a chance to ask questions and discuss best practice; at the end they receive a certificate of completion. Course credit: 18 contact hours.
Understanding & Intervening in Child Neglect
Participants have two weeks to complete a self-paced online session during which they review the importance of comprehensive and balanced assessment that includes the strengths and needs of each family member. This training encourages participants to recognize the need for various approaches when providing services to families depending on safety and risk levels. At the end of this session, which takes approximately 6–8 hours to complete, participants take a knowledge assessment and receive a certificate of completion. Course credit: 12 contact hours.
To Learn More
© 2010 Jordan Institute for Families