Supervisors Key to Supporting SDM® Practice
To harness the full potential of Structured Decision Making®
(SDM) assessments to promote accurate, equitable, and consistent decision making in the field, we know that supervisors are the key to next-level practice. Whether a jurisdiction is navigating a new implementation or is years into SDM®
system use, it is important for supervisors to nurture workers’ continuous improvement in practice integration.
All types of practices grow and deepen over time if we are committed to our goals, and SDM skills are no exception. Ongoing attention to details can keep us on the right track. Here is a checklist of supervision strategies and activities for best supporting SDM use:
1. Review SDM training materials with workers to reinforce accurate use and concepts.
2. Prompt workers’ use of the SDM manual to independently reference policy, instructions, and definitions.
3. Prompt workers to consider SDM decisions and concepts when they feel stuck on a case. For example: Orient the worker to the safety threats and whether they are mitigated to prompt critical thinking, or refocus on “impact on the child” when needed.
4. Instill the importance of SDM decisions and concepts when workers are preparing information for court.
5. Ask workers how the risk level is or should be affecting their work on a case.
6. Periodically complete a sample of case reviews to look for areas of strength, opportunities for workers to enhance their practice, and/or areas of demonstrated growth. Case reviews should answer questions such as:
- Are workers documenting supporting information for how they are navigating the SDM tools on each case?
- Are workers completing SDM tools per policy?
- Are workers talking with families or clients about SDM assessments?
With ongoing support from their supervisors, workers are more likely to move toward our shared goals of safety and well-being for children and older adults.