Issue 28 - December 2012
New Look for SDM® News 
With NCCD's new website in place, it was time for the look of SDM News to evolve as well. We hope you enjoy this new format and find it compelling and easy to use. If you received this newsletter in error, feel free to click "unsubscribe" below.   
APS SDM System Receives Award 
Minnesota Collaborative Recognized
A collaborative of six Minnesota counties was recognized December 3 for outstanding service—an outcome of its partnership with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD).
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 (APS).
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.
CRC Travels to Taiwan 
By Jennifer Cotter, Senior Research Associate
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.
Meet Our New Staff 
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
By Raelene Freitag, CRC Director
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 
Table of Contents
Save the Date! 
After a very successful 2011 SDM Conference in Baton Rouge, LA, CRC is happy to announce some exciting changes to the scope of the next conference, which will take place May 14–16, 2014, at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego, CA.
As CRC’s body of work grows and the agency works more closely with its parent organization, NCCD, the SDM Conference will also evolve in 2014 to encompass a larger scope that focuses on children, youth, and families involved with youth-serving social services agencies, including child welfare and juvenile justice.
An evolution of the SDM Conference, the NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families will better support NCCD’s mission of promoting just and equitable social systems for individuals, families, and communities through research, public policy, and practice. The NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families will feature workshops and presentations by jurisdictions that have adopted evidence-based practices, conducted innovative research to develop and improve programs, and applied implementation science to effectively and sustainably introduce change.
Educational opportunities will be offered regarding child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and other topics such as working with multisystem-involved children and families and improving outcomes for children involved in welfare systems.
A call for sessions will be released in early January 2013. An agenda and registration materials will be available in the fall of 2013.
SDM System in the News
KLKN-TV Eyewitness News in Lincoln, NE, featured a story in October giving partial credit to “a new assessment model” for the downward trend in the number of state wards in Nebraska.
Thomas Pristow, director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Children and Family Services, was quoted in the story as saying, “The new model and its assessments are called Structured Decision Making, and it helps identify the needs of children so DHHS can more effectively prioritize areas of concern and improve permanency outcomes for children."
You can read the full story here

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