Upgrading Training in Child Welfare Agencies – Five Steps to Creating a Learning Organization

After the hiring process, training is the most important aspect in the development of a good case manager. Training is understood to be an important first step by management of administration in understanding the philosophy of child welfare and child protection, the policies and practices of the agency, and the functions necessary to become an effective and efficient case manager.
There are many moving parts to consider when implementing a successful training program. Child protection, child welfare, the clients, the agency’s operation, the laws, technology, paperwork, and stakeholders are not just complicated individually, but collectively such considerations can be overwhelming.
After the hiring process, training is the most important aspect in the development of a good case manager. Training is understood to be an important first step by management of administration in understanding the philosophy of child welfare and child protection, the policies and practices of the agency, and the functions necessary to become an effective and efficient case manager.
There are many moving parts to consider when implementing a successful training program. Child protection, child welfare, the clients, the agency’s operation, the laws, technology, paperwork, and stakeholders are not just complicated individually, but collectively such considerations can be overwhelming. [More]

Stability and Child Protection Leadership

Every organization, regardless of focus or sector, needs good, solid leadership to thrive. Why? Leadership not only provides the organization’s vision and guidance so that the executive management team can implement the direction of the organization, but also serves as the role model and principal image of the work of the organization. Two of the most important elements of effective leadership are continuity and stability. Because change is an inevitable part of every organization, leadership that prepares for, addresses, and adapts to change will be more successful with organizational transformation. [More]

Federal Leadership -- It Does Matter

More and more, leadership is talked about and addressed through issues such as appointment, training, and mentoring. Leadership is particularly important and timely when considering child protection and child welfare issues over the last several years. Every election cycle is an opportunity for a local jurisdiction or state to be confronted with the challenges of appointing new leadership. Conflict or controversy often cause a change in leadership, which presents additional challenges, given the requirements of addressing an agency or system in crisis. Finally, there is need to address leadership transition upon retirement, or the decision to leave after a limited time in office. The need for stability and length of leadership is more important than ever to ensure continuity of progress and strength of improvement. [More]

Array of Services - Having It All

Providing families, parents, and children services that support and improve family relationships, family dynamics, and individual responsibilities has always been a primary responsibility of the child protection system. This system is comprised of complicated, intricate, integrated, and interrelated parts, each of which must perform well in order to achieve the ultimate goal: supporting children and families. From the report of a suspicion of abuse or neglect, to the assessment, filing with the court, court hearings, and finally closure, every individual in the process must perform well. [More]

Disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline with trauma-informed, school-based diversion programs

When schools practice harsh discipline and remove students from the school (e.g., through out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, arrests for minor offenses, etc.), it can lead to students’ involvement with the juvenile justice system. This school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects minority students, students with mental illnesses and behavioral issues, students with disabilities, and students with histories of abuse and neglect. [More]

Rural Areas – Sometimes It’s the Distance, Not the Journey

Providing services to children and families has always been a challenging and complex problem. Through agencies, these services are often contracted to local providers. Distance, travel, and method of transportation have always been a further complicating factor, especially in rural areas. As an Indiana governor suggested – “identify a problem, fix a problem, don’t embrace it.” [More]

Foster Care Crisis - What’s an Agency to Do? Part 2

Increasing demands for licensed foster homes have led many jurisdictions across the country to review their foster care services for children coming into their care. Though critical, these reviews are only one piece of a very complex puzzle. Child welfare agencies must also review the foster care system in the context of the current increasing demand, challenging family circumstances, and trauma children coming into the system. [More]

Foster Care Crisis - What’s an Agency to Do? Part 1

Child welfare agencies in jurisdictions across the country face a growing foster care crisis: decreasing numbers of licensed foster homes can’t support the increasing demand for licensed out of home placement, fueled, in part, by the opioid and prescription drug crisis. What is causing this shift in the demand for traditional licensed foster homes? While the recent increase in agency referrals has exacerbated the crisis of too few licensed foster homes, several other factors are at play... [More]

GAO-17-129: HHS Has Taken Steps to Support States' Oversight of Psychotropic Medications, but Additional Assistance Could Further Collaboration

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) completed another report (GAO-17-129) exploring how states are addressing the huge percent of children prescribed psychotropic medications while in foster care. Surveys conducted between 2008 and 2011 by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) found that 18 percent of foster care children were taking a psychotropic medication. ACF further defined the group and discovered that children in group homes or residential treatment facilities were taking psychotropic medications at a significantly higher rate (48 percent) than children living in nonrelative foster homes or formal kinship care (14 percent). [More]

A Great and Historic Partnership

An historic coalition has recently formed, one that has the potential to impact the child welfare community for decades. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Alliance) have partnered to host a joint summit from April 30-May 3 to “advance solutions within and across sectors to improve outcomes for individuals, families and communities.” In these uncertain and changing times, the need to explore new methods of obtaining resources and gaining funding support has never been more critical. Only with strong, dynamic and insightful leadership can changes of the nature needed in child welfare occur. This coalition is such an example. [More]