Training

Our team brings years of experience to the table to provide trainings that are innovative, evidence-based, and engaging. Training specialties are broken down into two categories outlined below. Each training within a category can be facilitated on it’s own, or as part of a series.

Each training is conducted as a 90 minute session and can be facilitated both virtually or in person. Let’s talk about works for you! The cost of each 90 minute session is $500. That being said, we are always open to talking about costing adjustments. The bottom line is what we care about most is getting great services to children and families.

Ready to get the ball rolling? Get started by checking out the training offerings below and then completing our simple training inquiry form:

If you have questions, please reach out to melanie@forchildwelfare.org.

Intense Family Search & Engagement

Are you struggling to find more than just immediate family members? Does your heart tell you that the family needs more support and resources to stay together? We’ve got you covered. Thanks to years of experience with family search, engagement and kinship navigation, we have the frameworks, tips and tricks to gain your confidence and hone your approach. You are not alone.

We’ll work with you to not only find family, but find them urgently. Once you’ve found family we’ll teach you how to engage with them on deep, meaningful, relational levels to make sure you’ve set them up for stability. Only the family members themselves are the experts, and we have to build rapport in order to truly partner with them to overcome barriers and create plans for success.

The days of finding a grandmother, running quick background checks, dropping off the child and hoping for the best are over. We can do better. Let us show you how.

SESSION OFFERINGS:

We love being able to put on our detective hats, and start digging deep to first and foremost identify and locate family members. In this training you'll learn the most urgent and creative techniques we've found to get this done. From questions to ask family members to get the most information, to how to utilize publicly available information on the internet, to completely outside the box ideas we've found to get out into the field and find folks, we've got you covered. 

This is social work, so why have we taken the social dynamic out of our engagements? Productive engagement requires a relational approach. We care, and we have to show it. We must build rapport in order to then be able to have deep, sometimes difficult conversations to make sure that the relative is prepared for everything that might come up as they care for or are connected to the child. Remember, the families are the experts, we have to reach them on a human level to tap into their expertise! Leave this training with new skills, approaches, scripts, and tools to make the most of your conversations with family members.

For those wanting to go a few steps further than what we offer in our standard Relational Engagement training, we’re offering this session which takes the fundamentals of relational engagement and runs with them into more nuanced territory. Learn tips and tricks for getting through to resistant relatives, breaking down barriers to rapport so that real partnership can take hold. After an empathetic and accepting relationship has been established, the real work begins. We’ll take you outside of your comfort zone, empowering you to have courageous conversations about very difficult topics with children and families. We have to be willing to call out the hard stuff, and work through it with the families in order to creatively overcome barriers to a family member being involved in a child’s life.

How often do we hear stories of a child being placed with a relative, only to disrupt back to a foster home? Unfortunately, far too often. Searching for family and finding a family member willing to take a child is exciting stuff! But the work doesn’t end there. Finding the supports and making sure the family is set up for success is even more rewarding. This training emphasizes the importance of supports in placement stability, and highlights how to engage family members in filling the support roles even if the child remains in a traditional foster home. We will walk you through how to identify what supports are necessary – for both the relative placement provider and the child – and how to achieve those supports. We will also explore the best way to link the supports when incorporating family members who aren’t already connected.

Getting children back to their parents or caregivers is the most fundamental function and goal of the child welfare system. We offer training on how to engage parents and the extended family network to promote quick and sustainable reunification. Extended family members can be utilized not only as supports to the children, but to the parents as well. Ultimately this is the best way to limit trauma on children in the foster system; get them HOME FASTER.

So much of the discussion about permanency for older youth is centered around legal permanency. That is, adoption, guardianship, or preparing them for independent living. However relational permanency is just as important for this vulnerable population. These youth need established lifelong connections they can turn to long after the child welfare system is out of the picture. Where will they spend holidays? Who do they call when their car breaks down? These questions we often take for granted in our own lives but it is so crucial for our older youth in foster care to establish these connections while we still have the opportunity to assist.

Mindset Change, Equity, and Power

These sessions overlay diffusion of innovation theory and social change theory with the transition that individuals, organizations, and governments are currently making away from how child welfare was done to how it should be done to achieve the best possible outcomes for children. This includes an exploration of our own lens through which we practice and recognizing the way power dynamics and equity influence the effectiveness of our work.

When we hear the word “equity” in the field of child welfare, usually the mind immediately goes to the subject of racial equality. At the Institute, we fundamentally believe in the importance of racial equity in every aspect of our work. However, with incredible trainers out there focusing on racial equity, we choose to say in our lane.

To that end, we take tremendous pride in offering these trainings on how we in the field can shift our mindsets about our families of all backgrounds, beliefs, and living situations with relational, equitable, and supportive approaches that bust down power dynamics and create real healing. Join us in these discussions!

SESSION OFFERINGS:

Systems change is about shifting the interdependent conditions that hold a problem in place. Make no doubt about it, the child welfare field is in the midst of ground-shifting philosophical and practical change towards “seeing” families as capable, strong, and of value. This change will not be quick or easy. This training examines the conundrums that occur between policy and practice and outlines how diffusion of innovation theory gives a window into what each agency, including all leadership, middle management, and frontline workers are being asked to do. This session examines the influence that the recent Families First legislation has had on reform, explores the five conditions for collective impact, and assists with forming a clear picture of how you and your work contributes to progress.

This training takes on a broad look at the concept of equity with specific reference on how traditional social work power and proximity must be understood in everyday practice. 

We start with the reflective competence model as a raw and real way of integrating and identifying one’s actions and beliefs, with the understanding of how these beliefs and actions affect others. In our ever expanding and diverse child welfare world, trust us to take you on a journey to examine the lens through which you practice.

 

We will then examine power dynamics with children and families. Imagine having someone you love and care for with all your heart suddenly taken away; no one is providing useful guidance, reassurance, or answers. No one is asking you questions about what you and your family need; about routines, beliefs, connections, and traditions that could be maintained to make your loved one’s time away from you more comfortable. The punitive nature of our child welfare system walks in the door before you do using words like “investigation,” “assessment,” “perpetrator,” and “allegation”.  

 

To complete this training session, we examine the concept of proximity. Spending time alongside children, families and communities is necessary but often tough. We unpack the ages old and systematic tendencies of us working one-step removed from families. Many of us have been taught about amorphous social work boundaries and are often confused about how close to get to a family. Boundaries are not at odds with authenticity. Join us as we challenge thought, give clear action steps and co-create a way for you to be truly proximate to children and families. We'll weave social change theories with human-centered design and examine the current system from the lens of what truly matters.

 

This training will be safe, at times uncomfortable, and definitely expanding. We adore seeing the effect this particular training has on many that attend.

Consultation

Sometimes you know what you want to do, but aren’t quite sure how to get there. We get it. We’ve been there and muddled our way through. For those agencies not interested in one of our trainings at this time but want to connect, we’d love to talk!

Our team can provide instruction on intense family search & engagement, assist secure community and stakeholder buy-in, or collaborate on starting a brand new program from the ground up! Talking innovation is what drives us. Let’s get to work.

Reach out to Melanie Moredock at melanie@forchildwelfare.org.