Portland State University | San Diego State University | Sonoma State University/San Jose State University | Southwest Missouri State University | Texas State University-San Marcos | University of North Carolina
Portland State University School of Social Work Child Welfare Partnership
Training for Excellence in Child Welfare Practice in Rural Oregon and Alaska
Award # 90CT0125
- The project selected various rural sites in Oregon and Alaska.
- Oregon: Originally five counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, but eventually expanded to 24 counties and each of Oregon's nine federally recognized Tribes
- Alaska: The Yukon Kushokwim Delta Region (58 villages)
- Within both States, the project targeted:
- Tribal child welfare program staff and related individuals, such as direct service staff, family meeting facilitators, supervisors, program directors, family members, elders, and village leaders
- State child welfare program staff and related individuals, such as direct service staff, supervisors, mid-level (district and program area) managers, State training program staff, foster parents (including kinship care providers), and Indian child welfare liaisons
- Community partners, such as other social service agencies, treatment agencies, anti-poverty agencies, courts, and law enforcement.
- Conducted a needs assessment via focus groups with over 600 individuals, identifying possible training content and methods
- Reviewed relevant CFSR documents
- Developed curriculum activities in four areas:
- Standalone, multiday, onsite training institutes for rural and Tribal practitioners
- Distance training delivery, including synchronous training (i.e., participants interacting with an instructor at the same time via the Internet), undergraduate courses, and access to online National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) training
- Collaborative development and support of culturally based training for Tribes and villages
- Inclusion of rural content into existing training
- For training institutes, participants completed evaluations immediately following the training and 30ï¿½45 days after; follow-up surveys were administered 3 months after the trainings to assess knowledge utilization.
- For distance learning, participants used an online survey tool (Survey Monkey).
- Training institutes:
- 133 participants trained.
- 86 percent of participants rated the training as 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale.
- More than 80 percent of participants reported gaining substantial knowledge.
- Distance learning:
- 443 participated, including 375 for the synchronous training component.
- 100 percent of respondents to the evaluation of the synchronous training component evaluation (n=169) reported they gained knowledge in the targeted learning objectives.
- 440 individuals participated in the Tribal collaboration component.
Tribal STAR: Addressing the Needs of Rural Native American Foster Youth
Award # 90CT0110
- Service providers who work with rural Tribal foster youth, including public child welfare workers (line staff, supervisors, and managers), community agency staff, court personnel (e.g., judges, attorneys), probation officers, and others.
- Initially only in San Diego County, but later conducted trainings in other counties
- Conducted focus groups to determine the training needs and issues
- Developed the Tribal STAR (Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness) Program and training model
- Developed two trainings:
- The Gathering: 2-day training for line staff
- The Summit: 1-day training for managers and supervisors
- Developed Creating Connections for Tribal Youth, a training for trainers that included The Summit training plus an additional day of training about how to implement this training in the local area
- Developed a training for M.S.W. students about services to Native Americans
- Provided technical assistance to agencies about meeting the needs of Tribal youth
- Used a multilevel evaluation methodology based on Kirkpatrick's four-level evaluation schema (satisfaction/opinion, knowledge, behavior, and outcomes) plus two additional levels (tracking and formative)
- Included customer satisfaction surveys and pre- and posttraining tests with a 6-month follow-up
- 439 people completed the Tribal STAR training.
- Participants rated the training 4.73 out of 5.00 for satisfaction.
- 77 percent of participants showed an increase in knowledge or maintained their previous knowledge level after the training.
- In the 6-month follow-up survey:
- 97 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they better understood ICWA and how it affects their practice.
- 97 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they were more aware of Native American culture, traditions, and approaches to child rearing.
- 84 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they were more effective in delivering services to Native American children.
- The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported an increase in successful placements of Native American foster children into relative care and stated this was a direct result of improved collaborations in the community that would not have occurred if not for the training and TA provided by Tribal STAR.
Sonoma State University/San Jose State University (initially awarded to Sonoma State University and transferred to San Jose State University October 1, 2007)
The R.U.R.A.L. Project (Resources to Address the Unique Needs of Rural Communities for Availability/Accessibility of Local Services)
Award # 90CT0144
Principal Investigator: Diane Nissen, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Child welfare staff serving rural areas throughout California, including public agency child welfare line workers and supervisors, paraprofessionals providing direct services, and other community- and faith-based stakeholders in the child welfare system
- Sent a training needs assessment survey to 1,000 rural social workers and the 48 child welfare directors in rural California counties and received 202 completed surveys
- Selected working with rural drug-abusing families as the training topic based on the needs assessment
- Developed and conducted a 2-day training of trainers, who would then deliver the Working With Drug-Abusing Families curriculum to rural child welfare staff
- Conducted three 1-day pilot trainings of rural social workers and revised the training based on feedback
- Delivered 1-day trainings of Working With Drug-Abusing Families to rural social workers
- Conducted follow-up TA workshops on cognitive behavioral therapy for training participants
- Key evaluation tools include a posttraining satisfaction survey, pre- and posttraining tests of knowledge, and a 3-month implementation survey.
- Among the nine participants in the training of trainers, the overall workshop was highly rated (4.5 out of 5).
- Among the 156 participants in three pilot training workshops in Year 1, the pilot training received overall high scores (4.5 out of 5 for overall workshop rating).
- Among the 1,850 participants in 32 trainings in Years 2–5, there were increases in knowledge after training for 90 percent of respondents. In the 90-day follow-up survey, 95 percent of respondents indicated that they had used the tools presented to them at the training with their clients.
- Among the 542 participants in 16 follow-up TA workshops, 27.8 percent showed a gain in knowledge from the workshops and, on a 1–5 scale, respondents indicated that they used the information from the seminar (3.97) and found the computer-based training helpful in improving their ability to serve families (4.23).
- The overall rating for the training and TA workshop for Years 2–4 was 4.7 on a 1–5 scale.
Project Title: Missouri Training Program for Rural Child Welfare Workers
Award # 90CT0127
Principal Investigator: Mary Ann Jennings, email@example.com
- Frontline workers, supervisors, and circuit managers from the Missouri Division of Family Services (DFS) in 31 rural counties in southwest Missouri
- Foster parents in need of continuing education hours
- The project conducted needs assessments with rural agency workers and staff and community stakeholders.
- Based on this feedback, staff developed training modules that covered a diverse range of topics, including poverty, domestic violence, conflict resolution, parent education, mental illness, and substance abuse.
- All the modules were created in collaboration with the DFS so that trainings would address areas that the State did not have the capacity to cover in its standard training system.
- The project trained child welfare specialists to deliver the training.
- They developed community collaborations and held events (e.g., foster parent appreciation dinners, child welfare summits).
- Evaluation team members operated as full partners in the project.
- For each training:
- Short-term gains/losses were assessed via retrospective pre- and posttraining self-reports.
- Intermediate-term changes in skills and practice were assessed via focus groups, interviews, and written methods.
- Developed and delivered 18 training modules
- Conducted 34 training sessions in 16 locations (322 workers and supervisors trained)
- Used trainee self-report measures to determine that the modules were highly successful in enhancing child welfare worker competencies
Training for Effective Child Welfare Practice in Rural Communities
Award # 90CT0126
Principal Investigators: Mary Jo Garcia-Biggs, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dorinda Nobel, email@example.com
- Initially, training was targeted toward current public child welfare workers in rural areas throughout Texas who wanted to pursue an M.S.W. degree. The tuition for these students was paid by the project.
- The project later admitted additional advance-standing students who lived and worked in rural/remote and/or isolated areas and who paid for the program out-of-pocket.
- Students had diverse backgrounds in terms of location, past experience, age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
- Applicants had to meet the Texas State Graduate School standards and the School of Social Work admission criteria and obtain the endorsement and cooperation of their agency superiors.
- The existing Texas State University (TSU) M.S.W. curriculum was modified to be web-based and meet the needs of rural social workers.
- The only differences between project students and other TSU M.S.W. students were that the project students were required to take a course in rural social work instead of an elective and they took their courses online.
- The degree could be completed in 4 years on a part-time basis.
- Students took previously existing Administrative Leadership concentration courses (but in an online format) in their last 2 years.
- Teaching methods included video teleconferencing and electronic chat rooms.
- Review of the curriculum and teaching materials
- Administrative/school data
- Satisfaction surveys
- End-of-course evaluations, evaluations of student performance in field placements, and employer evaluations of students
- 22 students graduated with their M.S.W. degree, including 15 from the original group that had their tuition paid by the project and 7 advance-standing students who paid their own tuition.
- 24 curricula were developed and/or amended, including the addition of technology-facilitated elements.
- The curricula were approved by local and national advisory groups.
- Most students reported they plan to continue their employment with their current agency.
- 100 percent of students reported they were more confident in their positions as a result of the training.
- 95 percent of students gave positive course evaluations.
- 100 percent of students' child welfare agency employers reported that the students improved their knowledge and performance.
- Faculty reported that they consider themselves better teachers as a result of the project.
- Interest in the program has grown, with more than 400 requests for information and 300 applications submitted for the Fall 2008 program.
North Carolina Rural Child Welfare Success Project
Award # 90CT0108
- The project worked with two clusters of seven North Carolina counties each to gather information about rural child welfare practices.
- The cluster in southwestern North Carolina is populated largely by people of White, Appalachian culture and also includes some American Indian populations.
- The cluster in northeastern North Carolina has significant African-American populations.
- Within these counties, the team focused on public child welfare supervisors and caseworkers.
- The project team engaged the participating rural communities in a needs assessment to gather information that would help them build a curriculum focused on their needs, strengths, and challenges.
- Based on this needs assessment, the project team developed trainings, materials, and tools, including:
- A media guide
- A classroom-based training curriculum for teams of supervisors and their directors
- Electronic learning courses for child welfare practitioners
- Two rural summits that gave participants the opportunity to provide feedback, learn about project findings, and travel to the participating counties
- A multimedia presentation about rural communities and social services
- The evaluation was originally designed to assess a conventional training intervention, but the team changed it to a focus on understanding and building upon the strengths of social work practice in rural communities.
- Due to the presence of other State and county initiatives, the project does not make any claims about the impact of this project.
- The evaluation was based on a variety of data sources, including satisfaction forms, pre- and posttraining tests, surveys, focus groups, community dialogues, and existing data sets (e.g., CFSR results).
- 264 hours of classroom-based training was provided to 79 individuals.
- 30 hours of training was provided to the 31 individuals who participated in the electronic learning courses.
- A review of CFSR data showed that rural counties performed just as well, if not better in some categories, than their urban counterparts.
- Supervisors who completed the classroom-based training showed a modest increase in self-rated ability of their understanding and use of management data.
- 84 percent of participants in the electronic learning courses increased their knowledge and skills.
- 85 percent of participants in the first rural summit believed that they had a better understanding of rural child welfare in North Carolina.
- In addition to anecdotal evidence of the informal nature of collaboration in rural settings, rural counties are involved in substantial formal collaboration across agency and unit lines.