Conference Workshop to Explore Revised Social Worker Training

Conference Workshop to Explore Revised Social Worker Training

April 19, 2016 | Melissa Connelly, CalSWEC

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The upcoming NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families presents an exciting opportunity to share information about innovations developed in California to help train new child welfare social workers to use the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system.

The upcoming NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families presents an exciting opportunity to share information about innovations developed in California to help train new child welfare social workers to use the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system.

The California Social Work Education Center, the California Department of Social Services, and the California Regional Training Academies/University Consortium for Children and Families have worked together during the past two years to develop, pilot, and implement a large-scale revision of training for new child welfare social workers in the state. The goal of revising the training was to ensure the curriculum—referred to as Common Core 3.0 (CC3.0)—provides key information in a format that streamlines knowledge acquisition and facilitates skill building.

I am particularly excited about the newly developed field activities linked to the SDM® system. Since studies show that as little as 10–13% of knowledge gained in the classroom transfers to actual practice1, we are working to identify ways to engage trainees in using their new skills and knowledge in the field and developing mechanisms to track their successful transfer from the classroom to real-life situations.

Unlike previous iterations of common core training, CC3.0 has incorporated components from the SDM system throughout the curriculum. These can be found in eLearning, classroom, and field activities. SDM content has been prioritized for embedded evaluation in the classroom and surveys for field activities. Our newly implemented field-training modality for Common Core will allow new social workers to practice specific SDM assessment skills with the help of a field advisor who can assist them with transferring training to practice. We look forward to learning how this new modality will improve training in California and impact trainee transfer of knowledge and skills.

The conference workshop that I will help present provides an overview of how and where to find SDM system components in CC3.0, goals of evaluating social worker knowledge and skill acquisition related to the SDM system, and application of the SDM system in social work practice. We will provide data from CC3.0 implementation, which began in January 2016, and discuss lessons learned.

I look forward to seeing you at the NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families for this and many other engaging workshops!

 

Melissa Connelly, MSW, is the director of in-service training for the California Social Work Education Center. 


1 Curry, D., McCarragher, T., & Dellmann-Jenkins, M. (2005). Training, transfer, and turnover: Exploring the relationship among transfer of learning factors and staff retention in child welfare. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(8), 931–948.