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School of Social Work partners with Indiana Department of Child Services


Program goal is to properly train future staffers

By Jennifer Salts



Abused and neglected Hoosier children now have another ally in their fight for better lives. \nThrough a government-funded initiative, the IU School of Social Work has partnered with the Indiana Department of Child Services to provide training for new and experienced workers, as well as for supervisors and managers in the child welfare system. The partnership calls for $6 million over the next three years. \nMichael Patchner, dean of the IU School of Social Workand former chairman of the Indiana Commission on Abused and Neglected Children and Their Families, said the partnership developed from that experience. \n"The IU School of Social Work has been interested in supporting Indiana's child welfare system for a long time," he said in an e-mail. "Several faculty members have work experience with child welfare. We also have faculty with a research interest in child welfare. We see this partnership as an extension of that interest and commitment." \nDepartment of Child Services Deputy Director of Staff Development M.B. Lippold is in charge of training for the department and wrote all of guidelines for the new partnership's training program. She said the program will include training for everyone at the department. \n"There will be nine trainers, two supervisors, two curriculum writers and a training manager," she said. "There will be training for new workers, for practice reform, for ongoing training, everything from family case manager training to training for hot line workers." \nLippold said that in addition to training, the program will also include the development of a training records information system, an evaluation component and some technological developments to aid in distance learning. \n"We'll have some Web-based training, some interactive television-kind of training," she said. "We'll probably develop some training videos to be used." \nJames Payne, director of the Department of Child Services, stressed the need for the distance learning technology. \n"We have case managers and others throughout the state, and we can't always bring them here to do the things that need to be done," he said. "So we need to get into distance learning so that staff can remain close to their home base and still get trained on some of the changing techniques and philosophies that exist just so their skill sets are better." \nPayne said that the need for the partnership was great because the department is currently hiring more workers in order to comply with Gov. Mitch Daniels' new policy of lowering the number of cases per worker based on recommendations from the Child Welfare League of America. \n"It has been a real strong emphasis of ours to make sure that we bring in 400, and hopefully the budget will pass and bring in 400 more caseworkers," he said. "Our goal was not to bring in 800 case managers and make the system bigger, but to do that and make the system better -- and the best way to do that is training and retraining and retraining." \nLippold agreed and said that the program was designed with one ultimate goal in mind: "So that every staff member at the Department of Child Services is thoroughly and adequately trained to do the best job possible for children and their families"

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