Training Matters

 

Vol. 3, No. 3 • June 2002

New Training Courses Make their Debut in Spring 2002

Spring this year brought with it frequent news of our state’s worsening fiscal crisis. Would the budget shortfall be $1 billion? $1.5 billion? More? It was a season full of concerns about how North Carolina’s financial problems might affect our ability to serve families and children.

Yet at the same time the spring of 2002 was the encouraging, hopeful season it always is. In the midst of their concern, county departments of social services continued to protect children and help families overcome difficult, complex challenges.

While the counties did this, the N.C. Division of Social Services developed and offered several new training courses—a continuation of its efforts to provide the state’s child welfare workers with the information and skills they need to do their vital work. Following is a brief profile of two of these courses, signs of progress during an uncertain spring.

Child Neglect

Last year in North Carolina, there were 32,581 substantiated cases of child maltreatment. Out of those cases, 90% were classified as “neglect only.” National child maltreatment fatality statistics are even more striking: in 1999, 38.2% of child maltreatment fatalities were classified as “neglect only”—by far the most common cause of fatalities. (“Physical abuse only” was next, at 26.1%).

Clearly, neglect is a major issue in child welfare. Yet the person on the street would probably tell you differently—the dramatic, visual impact of physical and sexual abuse capture our attention more easily than the often “invisible” effects of neglect.

To help child welfare workers cultivate a greater understanding of this issue and develop their ability to work with families who neglect, North Carolina has created Understanding and Intervening in Child Neglect. This three-day course, which debuted in Fayetteville and Charlotte this spring, teaches practitioners to:

  • Define neglect and its impact on our child welfare system

  • See how different factors contribute to cause neglect

  • Accurately identify indicators of neglect in child victims and their families and to understand neglect’s impact on children and families

  • Work with families in poverty to help prevent neglect

  • Interview and assess families in a family-centered, strengths-based way

  • Conduct comprehensive, individualized assessments that address family members’ strengths, needs, and capacity for change

Understanding Neglect was developed and piloted by the Jordan Institute for Families in partnership with the N.C. Division of Social Services.

Child Mental Health

Did you know that children in foster care are three times more likely to suffer from mental illness than children in the general population? Or that child maltreatment causes some psychiatric disorders and worsens others?

The mental health of the children involved with the child welfare system is a serious and complex issue. To help workers understand and address the mental health needs of the children they serve, the N.C. Division of Social Services and the Jordan Institute for Families have created Understanding Child Mental Health Issues.

This three-day course gives participants a basic understanding of six of the most common childhood mental disorders encountered by those working in child welfare: ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, conduct disorder, and reactive attachment disorder.

Child Mental Health teaches participants about the causes and treatments of these disorders and provides them with practical tips for enabling birth and foster parents to help children with mental health issues.

Both Neglect and Child Mental Health are “300-level” courses, intended for those who possess more than one year’s child welfare experience. They would be of benefit to supervisors, administrators, and line workers in all areas of child welfare.

 

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News About the Child Welfare Training Calendar

The publication of the 2002 Summer/Fall Children’s Services Training Schedule has been delayed. It is anticipated the schedule will be published and mailed to county agencies, in limited quantities, in early fall 2002. In the interim, directors of county departments of social services will be informed about individual training events through correspondence from the Division.

As usual, after the training calendar has been published it will be made available online at <http://ssw.unc.edu/fcrp/training_schedule/trainsched_welcome.htm>.

 

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Partial List of Upcoming Training Events

If you work in a county department of social services in North Carolina, look for correspondence from the N.C. Division of Social Services about these courses:

Adult Mental Health
— July 16–17, Kinston
— December 16–17, Charlotte

Adoptions
— August 20–22, Asheville

Case Management and Planning
— August 13–16, Charlotte

Child Development in Families at Risk
— July 24–25, Asheville
— July 29–30, Charlotte
— August 26–27, Kinston
— September 16–17, Greensboro

Effects of Separation and Loss
— July 22–23, Fayetteville
— August 1–2, Charlotte
— August 15–16, Greensboro
— September 23–24, Kinston

Emotional Aspects of TPR
— September 12–13, Greensboro

Foster Family Home Licensing
— September 4–6, Fayetteville

Intake
— August 28–30, Greensboro

Making the Most of Visitation
— July 30-31, Fayetteville

Placement
— Sept. 17–20, Charlotte

Substance Abuse
— August 7–9, Greensboro

Sexual Abuse
— August 7–9 and August 21–23, Fayetteville
— September 11–13 and 25–27, Charlotte

Understanding Child Mental Health Issues
— August 13–15, Charlotte
— December 4–-6, Asheville

Understanding and Intervening in Child Neglect
— August 7–9, Kinston
— September 18–20, Greensboro
— October 23–25, Asheville

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2002 Jordan Institute for Families