Minnesota Child Welfare Training System

Social Work

Course Descriptions for Social Work

Child Welfare Foundation Training

Child Welfare Foundation Training (CWFT) provides skill-intensive foundation curricula that combines classroom and computer lab training, as well as web-based training (WBT). Foundation training includes the latest in child welfare practice reform philosophies, along with WBT module post-tests and supervisor resource pages. Foundation training replaces “Social Worker CORE” training. It integrates the 17 days of “CORE Policy” training and the three-day “SSIS New Worker” training (NWT). Foundation training meets the statutory requirement {Minn. Stat. 626.559, subd. 1a} for training of new child protection workers. Foundation training is offered at a frequency to accommodate new child protection workers meeting the statutory required training within the first six-months of employment.

CWFT Registration Policy

“Child Welfare Foundation” training was designed and developed for new child protection workers. While other workers may benefit from the training, it may be necessary to prioritize registration to child protection social workers when space is limited. Foundation training also encourages networking among peers by using the cohort model.

Note: Child protection workers receive priority enrollment. Participants will receive an email from CWTS staff which outlines the WBT prerequisite process and completion deadlines upon enrollment in classroom 1. You must complete WBT’s 1-6 prior to attending Classroom 1 training. Failure to comply with the directions received may result in loss of enrollment status. Loss of enrollment status means you cannot attend Classroom 1 or proceed with the series.

CSP111C1 Introduction to Public Child Welfare
This classroom module includes two chapters; it introduces new workers to public child welfare through interactive discussions and activities on Minnesota’s Practice Model, disparities, culture, communication and the effects of maltreatment on brain development. These subjects cross through all areas of child welfare practice, making understanding crucial for all child welfare workers.

CSP111C2 Family Assessment & Case Planning
This classroom module includes nine chapters. It introduces new workers to Family Assessment Response (FAR) through interactive discussions and activities using a life of the case model that addresses safety, risk, engagement, assessment, strengths and needs, culture, service plan development, child well-being, evaluation, and case closure. The module introduces subjects that span all areas of practice, and are crucial areas of understanding for all child welfare workers.

CSP111C3 Family Investigation & Post-Placement/ Permanency Planning/ICWA
This classroom module includes six chapters. Chapters one and two introduce new workers to family Investigation (FI) through interactive discussions and activities using a life of the case model that addresses effective interviewing, evidence gathering and documentation, court involvement, and child placement. Chapter three emphasizes best practices and federal and state legal mandates when working with American Indian families and tribes across the life of all types of cases. Chapters four through six include review of placement activities such as identifying relatives, development of an out of home placement plan, entering case data, and permanency planning.

Child Welfare Direct Practice (formerly Specialized & Related Trainings)

CSP201F Family Reunification Through Visitation
This training provides workers with means of using collaborative and family-empowering visitation as a vehicle to achieve reunification. The workshop introduces participants to best-practice visiting methods and to Child Welfare law related to visitation and reunification. Participants will use the knowledge gained in this workshop to create strengths-focused, empowering, and collaborative visitation strategies culminating in a Visitation Plan.

CSP201G Promoting Placement Stability and Permanency Through
Caseworker Visits

This course provides workers with advanced knowledge and skills in conducting quality visits with children in care and with their parents. It builds on the concepts of attachment, strength-based assessment and planning, concurrent permanency planning, child and youth development, effective interviewing and organizing contacts congruent with the child and family’s case goals and objectives. This training allows workers to share and practice skills through activities.

CSP205A Legal Issues in Child Welfare: Liability and Data Practices
This is a “must take” class for anyone in child protection. A recent MN Supreme Court decision opens liability to Child Protection workers, their supervisors, and the agencies that employ them where it never existed before. This class discusses the ramifications of that decision, provides insight as to areas where Child Protection workers may be most vulnerable to lawsuits, and strategies to prevent lawsuits from occurring. It also touches on the basics of the Data Practices Act. Participants will learn what data is available to them as Child Protection Workers, and the proper means to obtain and protect that data.

CSP205B Legislative Update
In this annual VPC, workers learn the most recent changes in federal and state laws and recent significant case law that affects child welfare practice.

CSP205D Legal Issues and Appeals
Legal Issues and Appeals describes the local child protection agency’s role in the child maltreatment reconsideration and Human Services appeals process. It provides a step-by-step analysis of each part of the process, and strategies on how the local agency can be successful in that process. It includes a mock case the participants will utilize to demonstrate the local agency’s role in the preparation, presentation, cross-examination and argument in an appeal before a Human Services Judge.

CSP205E Communication in the Courtroom
Communication in the Courtroom is designed to instruct Child Protection Workers on how to provide effective testimony. Participants will learn tools that can be applied in any hearing/trial where workers may be called to testify with additional emphasis on permanency trials. It discusses strategies on working with the County Attorney, provides instruction on how to lay the proper foundation for evidence, describes how to properly testify as an expert and the benefits thereof, the evidence necessary to be successful in a permanency trial, and how to provide effective testimony both on direct and cross examination.

CSP205F The Maltreatment of Minors Reporting Act and Reasonable/Active Efforts
This class provides a detailed explanation of the child protection workers’ duties and responsibilities under the Maltreatment of Minors Reporting Act, the Reporting of Prenatal Exposure to Controlled Substances Act, and the Safe Place for Newborns Act. It includes a discussion of the protections and immunities workers have in fulfilling those responsibilities. It also details the workers’ responsibilities to provide reasonable/active efforts, the legal definition of those terms, and where and how the child protection worker is required to provide those efforts both while a child protection case is pending, and after a judicial determination of permanency.

CSP207B Family Group Decision Making: Orientation
FGDM is a decision-making process that increases the use of kinship care, capitalizes on family strengths and affirms cultural diversity. It creates a partnership between the family and service providers and other professionals, and recognizes that families can make well-informed decisions about themselves. Families are engaged and empowered by child welfare agencies to make decisions and develop plans that nurture their children and youth and protect them further abuse and neglect. An overview of the principles and phases of Family Group Decision Making, including which cases are appropriate for referral to the Family Group Decision Making process, is provided.

CSP207C Family Group Decision Making – Facilitator
Individuals will learn the specific skills, strategies and techniques fundamental to facilitating and coordinating Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) meetings in the context of child welfare. The training will include a review of the history, philosophy, and practice elements of FGDM. Prerequisite: FGDM Orientation.

CSP207E FGDM Youth in Transition Conference
This course will provide social workers with the goals, values and philosophy of the Youth in Transition Conference (YTC) process. They will be able to understand the unique needs of youth transitioning from foster care. Participants will have familiarity with and be able to use YTC forms and documents and will build skills for the coordination/preparation and facilitation of YTCs.

CSP207F FGDM Practice Skills for Child Well Being and Permanency
Part 1 of this course advances the skills of FGDM facilitators in the developing and utilizing trauma-informed practices and learning ways to engage families to minimize trauma. It will show how culture supports healing and preserves connections. Part 2 of this course provides legislative mandate for concurrent planning and teaches FGDM facilitators skills of assisting families for alternative permanency planning. Trainees will learn how to build effective permanency actions plans and effective team collaboration. Trainees will also understand the importance of early engagement meetings, advanced conflict resolution and issues team members may encounter.

CSP208A Concurrent Permanency Planning
As a result of the training, participants will understand the concept and core components of concurrent permanency planning (CPP) within the context of a child’s need for safety, permanence and well-being. We will explore how to develop and implement CPP goals and practice strategies in light of the recently passed legislation in Minnesota as well as how successful outcomes are measured. Participants will have the opportunity to recognize and develop collaborative roles in reaching successful, system wide implementation of concurrent permanency planning.

CSP209A Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Participants learn the history of American Indian Child welfare and the federal and state laws affecting the children and their families. This training also provides step-by-step instruction on the use of the Minnesota Department of Human Services(DHS) social services manual section on American Indian children. Permanency planning issues for American Indian children are reviewed. Participants learn ways to build stronger working relationships with tribal social services and to see them as partners and cultural resources. This training also covers the 2007 Tribal/State Agreement on Indian Child Welfare, new legislation, DHS rules, and new initiatives in relation to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

CSP212 Engaging Fathers: Making Room for Dad
This course is designed to help county and tribal child welfare workers enhance their capacity to identify and engage fathers of children in the child welfare/child protection system. The training offers opportunities for participants to: examine their personal and organizational barriers toward all fathers; develop effective strategies that promote father involvement; enhance opportunities for healthy co-parenting; learn and apply legal requirements for working with fathers; and increase child safety, permanency and well-being.

CSP227 Preparing Adolescents for Adulthood: Partnering for Success
This interactive training provides information on preparing foster care youth to successfully enter adulthood by using a comprehensive and ongoing process of collaborative, holistic, and individualized preparation and planning. The process of preparing youth for adulthood prompts thoughtful and thorough planning that result in youth having an extended network of support and adequate skills to function as an adult. Preparation and planning is needed for all youth in foster care but it is especially important for youth who are state wards or those leaving foster care without legal permanency or connections to supportive adults. This training will help participants understand that permanency is achievable; lack of preparation for adulthood is avoidable; and a comprehensive planning approach is essential.

CSP301B Signs of Safety
This two day workshop will cover the basic principles, skill, and tools of Sign of Safety (SofS). This will include, but not be limited to: A Signs of Safety overview and brief history; Appreciative Inquiry; The Questioning Approach; Harm and Danger Statements and Safety Goals; Three Houses, Safety House; Mapping; Safety Planning and Safety Networks.

CSP307A Foundations of Culture
Learners have the opportunity to refine their cultural thinking skills by challenging personal assumptions and internalizing more than one worldview, using critical analysis and comparative thought to form opinions about intercultural interactions and practicing reflection, suspension of judgment, tolerance for ambiguity, empathy, and mindfulness. Learners will practice intercultural communication skills by expressing thoughts and ideas with clarity, purpose, and cultural awareness, and recognizing how empathy, openness, and attentive to language affects communication.

CSP307C Bridging Our Understanding: American Indian Family Preservation
This course, collaboratively written by Minnesota’s 11 tribes, is designed to help child welfare professionals understand how cultural perspectives affect their work with American Indian children and families. The unique teaching approach intends to challenge non-Indian social workers to reconcile practice methods with the relational world view and cultural practices of American Indian tribes in Minnesota. Workers will gain knowledge of specific Tribal resources that are tribally-identified as fundamental to improving service development and delivery to American Indian families and children. Each course is presented by trainers and tribal representatives.

This three day course offers child welfare workers a comprehensive experience to gain awareness, understanding and improved practice skills for working with American Indian children and families. Participants are required to complete pre-course assignments prior to attending the first day of class. Participants are also required to complete assignments following the first and second class and prior to the third class. Eighteen training hours will only be given upon completion of all assignments and attendance at both classes in the same series at the same American Indian Reservation location. No partial credit hours will be given. Participants enrolled in Part 1 will automatically be enrolled in Part 2 and Part 3.

This course also addresses the disproportionate representation of American Indian children in the child welfare system. According to data collected by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, American Indian children are 6.5 times more likely to be reported as abused or neglected than Caucasian children. American Indian children represent 1.8 % percent of general child population; in comparison to children of all races in Minnesota, American Indian children represent 13.1 % of the children in out-of-home placement.

CSP307D Working Effectively with Southeast Asian Families
This course was created in coordination with the Asian American Curriculum Team comprised of members from the Asian community. It is designed to give child welfare professionals cultural perspectives that increase their practice skills with Southeast Asian American children and families. Workers will gain knowledge of specific resources that will improve service development and delivery to this population.

This one day course offers community-specific information for the ten Southeast Asian countries, with emphasis on Hmong and Karen families, in order to provide child welfare workers with increased awareness, understanding and improved practice skills for working more effectively with Southeast Asian American children and families.

CSP307F Serving Newcomer Families in the MN Child Welfare System
"Serving Newcomer Families in the MN Child Welfare System is written and trained in coordination with the Immigrant American Curriculum Team and designed to give child welfare professionals cultural perspectives that increase their practice skills with Immigrant American children and families. Workers will develop knowledge and understanding of relevant immigration terminology, background information on newcomers in Minnesota and the wider U.S., how immigration issues impact work with children and families, and the services available to newcomer families. Workers will learn about particular legal status issues pertinent to children in out-of-home care, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Workers will be given opportunities to examine their own cultural histories and perspectives. Workers will examine what circumstances bring newcomer families into contact with the child welfare system, consider the strengths and challenges facing newcomer families in Minnesota, and develop practice skills for working with newcomer families, including working with interpreters, accessing resources, and serving families with mixed immigration status. Workers will also gain knowledge about several cultural communities in Minnesota, such as newcomer families from East Africa (Somali, Ethiopian and Oromo cultures), and West Africa (particularly Liberians)."

307G: Working Effectively with African American Families in Child Protection (two-days)
This course, written and trained by parents who have been involved in child protection systems, offers their perspectives for working effectively with African American families. Participants will explore possible stereotypical views of African-American families involved in child protection. An overview of the ACE study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) will be provided to give participants a lens from which to view child protection clients and the opportunity to offer ways that services could be provided differently. Participants will view African-American communities and many aspects of African-American people and various and diverse ways of life. Communication skills that can lead to greater outcomes in African-American families, including summarizing conversations, will be explored. Opportunities to practice communication skills including summarize conversations effectively will be offered.

CSP312 Promoting Trauma-Informed Practice
During this two day training, child welfare workers will develop knowledge and understanding of the impact of trauma on the development and behavior of children. Participants will be able to identify strategies to support children and their families who have experienced trauma. Participants will gain knowledge on how and when to intervene in a trauma-sensitive manner and make strategic referrals. Participants will also understand the impact of secondary traumatic stress (STS) on child welfare workers and identify techniques for effective self-care.

CSP314 GLBTQI: Responsive Child Welfare Practice
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (GLBTQ) youth and families live in all regions of the state and are often invisible to communities and institutions, including the child welfare system. Like all youth and families, GLBTQ youth and families have strengths and challenges, and are members of all racial and ethnic cultures, communities, and religious backgrounds. GLBTQ individuals have been subjected to historical discrimination and oppression, causing attendant challenges to their well-being. GLBTQ youth in out-of-home care are especially vulnerable to discrimination and stigma. This training is intended to increase the awareness, knowledge, skills and abilities of social workers and supervisors to work effectively with this unique population.

CSP318 Understanding Poverty and the Role of Child Welfare
Data increasingly shows the role that poverty plays in child neglect and maltreatment. This class will help workers recognize the myths about poverty, and also understand how economic realities affect everyday living for the families they serve. Workers will gain an understanding of socioeconomic statistics, trends, and the impact of poverty in Minnesota and the United States, including poverty research and the ability to apply this knowledge to the practice of social work. Strategies will be presented for building effective communication to educate and to form relationships in order to assess, build and connect families to resources. In addition, effective strategies to positively impact the cycles of poverty will be introduced.

CSP319 Ethical Issues in Child Welfare
The focus of CSP 319 Social Work Ethics VPC is learning to utilize key ethical principles to determine the ethicality of various courses of action in situations involving professional boundaries. These principles apply to the ethics codes of a number of professions. The general framework used is one which compares options and solutions in situations which involve "gray" areas. The presumption is that a single ethical principle or rule does not provide an answer.

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