The Value of NTI for Child Welfare and Mental Health System Collaboration

The Value of NTI for Child Welfare and Mental Health System Collaboration


LOUISE JOHNSON: part of my role
at the Department of Mental Health is to support the
clinicians that serve children across the state. We have 17 mental health
centers and we have clini-cians. We have a children’s
director and a number of highly-trained
clinicians across the state. So in that role and
support-ing them, I feel like my role
is also to make sure that they have the
tools in their tool belt to do the best job
they possibly can. And we work very closely
with child welfare. And I’ve always prioritized
this population as a population that we should, through
our mental health centers, that we should prioritize
to address the needs. Our clinicians are fairly aware
of some of the grief and loss is-sues, but it would
really be good for them to really be able to
pull everything together around the trauma, the grief,
the loss, the abandonment, and to really fine tune
those skills and abili-ties as they work with children that
are interfacing with the child welfare system. I have really received mostly
glowing remarks or feedback about the training. Our clinicians have been
really pleasantly sur-prised as far as how engaging
it is and how it really opened their eyes to things
that they thought they knew. So most of the trainings have
been–all the feedback that I’ve received have been very
positive about the training, specifically. BECKY SHARP: So we’ve had
very strong collaboration in South Carolina from
our private providers, from everything from
residential to thera-pists to many of our
private practitioners, as well as we have
a strong department of public mental health system,
which some states do not have. And they have brought into it
totally with us in partnership, because they realize that a lot
of the families that they’re working with are families who
are post-adopt or have been involved in the past with
the child welfare system or are currently involved
with the child welfare system. NTI has been a blessing
for South Carolina. We had just came
off of two years of trying to roll out
trauma-informed systems of care information across the state. We had worked a lot along
implementing Silence of Safe-ty and some of our
intake things, and we didn’t have anything that
really tied it all together. So, one of the things
about this curriculum was that it offered
that ve-hicle to tie together lots of
different initiatives that we had worked
on that otherwise it would be like
initiative, initiative, and then every-body
forgets about it. And this was a way of
tying it all together and bringing it all together. So, as we worked
with the curriculum, we realized it was not
just about adoption; it was about the
whole life of the case through the child
wel-fare system. That was the other
thing that was interesting was
that we initially kind of drafted and told
the people who would be participating in the train-ing. So we had directed adoption
staff, post-legal workers, our licensing and people
that do home studies for adoptive families and were
kind of focused on that track. But as those folks started
participating in that training, they quickly were providing
the feedback of, “This is not just about adoptions. This is about everything. Everybody in child welfare
needs to take this.” The other thing
that was interesting is then we would have people
con-tacting us saying, “Can we participate too?”
because they were hearing such positive things from
those who were participating in the pilot. I think another interesting
thing for us was I think there was a little bit of a
predisposition against, quote, “online training” and that being
an effective training model and that sort of thing. And this really was
a paradigm shift for the policy makers within
our agency of realizing the value that you can do
online training very well and very competently, that it’s
not a matter of just turning on the computer and walking off
and going and doing something else and coming back
and pushing a button and saying, “Okay,
I achieved this.” But that online
training could be used in a very interactive way. I think the impact has
been more with some of our experienced
people, in-terestingly. And even when you looked at
our pre and post test scores in our state, our
supervisors tend to have bigger gains in
knowledge because they haven’t been in school for 20 years. And once you’re
out there work-ing, you don’t have time to keep
up with the new research and up-to-date stuff. So really, some of the more
powerful messages I think came from our
su-pervisors about, “Wow, I didn’t know this. I wasn’t aware of this.” So it’s not something that,
even though we’re using it to on-board new staff, we’re
also going back this year and having every child welfare
staff that did not participate in the pilot complete the
curriculum be-cause of so many comments that we got
from experienced staff and experi-enced supervisors
about “this is some of the best training I’ve had since
I’ve been with the agency.” I’ve been, in 30 years,
not just child welfare but the mental health
field, that sort of thing. I’ve been involved in lots
of different initi-atives, and many of them very good. But this is by far
one of the most powerful and
across-the-board and covers very many different areas. It’s one of the best initiatives
I’ve been involved in. [END OF AUDIO]

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