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APS SDM System Receives Award
Minnesota Collaborative Recognized
Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Steele, and Washington counties received an Association of Minnesota Counties’ (AMC) 2012 Outstanding Service Award for the development and use of the Structured Decision Making
® (SDM) system in adult protective services
The award, which is given for county excellence and innovation, was presented to the collaborative at the AMC’s annual conference in St. Cloud, MN. Four other counties received the same recognition for their programs.
APS staff representatives from the six-county collaborative worked with NCCD in 2010 to develop and implement intake, safety, and strengths and needs assessments. The goals of the project were to create greater definitional clarity of criteria when screening and investigating reports of abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults and improve consistency in assessment practices across agencies. The assessments are designed to reinforce the clinical judgment of the APS workers at critical decision points of the assessment and investigative process.
NCCD and the collaborative continue to meet monthly to discuss implementation issues and create best-practice policy around the SDM® system. Due to the project’s success, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will begin implementing the APS SDM system statewide beginning in January 2013.
The Children’s Research Center
(CRC) has begun to develop and implement the SDM
system in Taiwan—the first non-English speaking country to use the SDM system. This past October, after CRC staff trained more than 100 social workers and supervisors in Taiwan in the use of the SDM safety assessment, select child protection workers began field testing the assessment throughout the island.
CRC’s initial work with Taiwan began more than a year ago. Through the miracle of technology, CRC staff reviewed and discussed the SDM safety assessment with child protection staff in Taiwan, localizing the language and criteria in order to develop a “Taiwan version.” More
CRC and San Diego Celebrate Partnership
Two-Year Mark for "Early Adopter" Training
Staff from CRC
and the County of San Diego Child Welfare Services recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of a project designed to deepen social work practice across the county. The first step in this multi-stage project involved identifying a group of 50 workers, supervisors, and managers from across the county to be “early adopters.” These early adopters then received training and coaching from CRC staff for approximately one year in order to deepen their skills. At the conclusion of the training and coaching period, many of these early adopters became trainers on the material in addition to their regular roles in the county. They were provided CRC-designed curriculum that enabled them to bring the best of what they learned to their colleagues across the county.
Currently, more than 600 social work staff in San Diego County are receiving training in this approach. The training provides more tools for their direct work with children and families and enhances their use of the SDM
system. An evaluation is underway to better understand the effects of this training approach on social work practice; early signs point to it as an effective way to help mid- to large-size organizations take up new practices.
CRC and the county continue to work together to further integrate these new practices into everyday work in San Diego. CRC is grateful to both the trainers for their heroic work and to the County of San Diego for this continued partnership.
Suzanne Lohrbach, Amy McDonald Cipolla-Stickles,
and Anita Peters Join NCCD
Three new NCCD
senior program specialists will focus their work on matters related to the SDM system.
Suzanne Lohrbach, LICSW, served most recently as vice president for children’s programming at the American Humane Association. Sue has a combined 28 years of experience working and supervising practice in public child protective services and child, adolescent, and adult mental health. She consults and presents nationally and internationally on differential response systems in child welfare, intervention in high-risk child protective service delivery, domestic violence, family involvement, youth development, research-to-practice initiatives, and group supervision in child welfare systems. More
Susie Essex and Being Brave
Reflections From a Workshop in the Netherlands
UK-based consultant Susie Essex has spent her career developing and refining an approach to helping families keep their children safe. I had the privilege recently to spend three days in a workshop with Susie in the Netherlands. I will not attempt to pass on instruction in a brief newsletter article; you will have to see Susie yourself or at least read the book she co-authored with Andrew Turnell, Working with Denied Child Abuse: The Resolutions Approach
. However, I will share a few observations that are influencing the direction of CRC
in child protection. More
Using the CSNA to Write the Child Case Plan
Focusing on the Child
By Shannon Flasch, CRC Associate Director
In the last two issues of SDM News
, we have focused on using the family strengths and needs assessment to develop case plans for caregivers. This issue, we want to shift the focus to the child.
In many jurisdictions, child needs identified on the child strengths and needs assessment (CSNA) are not prioritized. Our thinking is that all of the needs of the child should be addressed through the case plan, both as an expression of the child protection system’s commitment and responsibility to child well-being and because most children, unlike their adult caregivers, are unable to seek out and obtain additional services to address any needs we might not prioritize.
As we incorporate child needs into the case plan, we may follow the same basic approach as for adults, but it is important to keep a pair of principles in mind. More