InDHSS: Employee Newsletter


August 2010


A new learning journey for new workers

By Kim Guay
Child Welfare Administrator

“Standards, Knowledge and Insight Leading to Success” training — SKILS —is changing and it is new and improved! When OCS hires new workers, it is imperative they receive quality training. OCS works very closely with our training partner, UAA, to deliver quality training. SKILS is an integral part of the learning development of all new workers.

Beginning in August, new front line workers will have a whole new way of learning how to keep children safe and families strong. Their “learning journey” will start with four online modules:

  • Introduction to the Practice Model
  • Cultural Humility
  • Introduction to ICWA
  • Interviewing Basics 

Then initial assessment and family services workers will each come to their own one week of training and then will return to their office and be assigned a reduced caseload. Generalist workers will receive both weeks of primary training. The next stop on the “learning journey” comes through four more online modules:

  • Child Development
  • Child Interviewing
  • Adult Functioning and Assessment
  • Introduction to Permanency

Four months after their primary training, the Child Welfare Academy will be traveling to the regional hubs to deliver advanced SKILS training to all the new workers in that region. That training is comprised of two days of initial assessment, two days of family services and one day covering both topics. 

This new plan allows for SKILS to happen once a month for 10 months out of the year instead of the five times it was being held, with no training being held in July and December. With training being offered twice as often there will be some additional benefits such as: smaller class sizes allowing for more discussion and increased learning; and more of our tribal partners able to attend. It will also provide them with just the right amount of information they need to know to begin taking on caseworker responsibilities. This will help them better translate what they’ve learned to practice, without being so inundated that they lose a lot of critical parts before they can fully appreciate the information. 

This is a radical change and one that we have great hope will also help increase retention rates by getting “boots on the ground” faster to lessen the impact on remaining staff, and increase the new workers’ feeling of success in their “learning journey.”

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