• November 2007
  • Vol. 8, No. 10

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Cultural Competence Training for Child Welfare

A unique collaboration between the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and two universities has resulted in a curriculum for supervisors, caseworkers, and graduate social work students that uses a systems of care model to promote culturally competent practice with Latino children and families in the child welfare system. Using a Children's Bureau grant, the team developed training protocols that are family-focused and encourage community-based services that are culturally appropriate. The team also provides follow-up technical assistance to help workers apply their new knowledge and skills.

The partners drew on the expertise of a Community and University Advisory Panel of Latino Experts. This group included members from across Texas with both child welfare and university backgrounds who provided consultation on curriculum development and delivery, making recommendations based on their experience working with the Latino population.

The curriculum, "Culturally Competent Practice With Latino Children and Families," includes eight training modules:

  • Cultural Competence With Hispanic Children and Families
  • Overview of Systems of Care
  • Engagement
  • Assessment
  • Planning
  • Implementation and Intervention
  • Transition
  • Case Simulation

The training targets supervisors and caseworkers from the Texas DFPS who work primarily with Latino families in their homes, promoting family preservation. It addresses some of the findings from Texas's Child and Family Services Review, which indicated that improvement was needed in the areas of safely maintaining children in their own homes and family involvement in case planning.

To date, the training has been delivered to 180 staff and supervisors throughout the State. Participants also had the opportunity to receive technical assistance through an additional half day of training 60 days later, which allowed them to review successes, challenges, and strategies for implementing the training in working with Hispanic children and families. The curriculum also has been adapted as part of a practicum course in the graduate social work program at the University of Texas at Arlington.

While evaluations are ongoing, preliminary results from pilot training have been positive. Evaluations focus on three aspects of the training: reaction, learning, and behavioral change.

The project is a collaboration of the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, the Texas DFPS, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work. For more information, contact:

Joan Rycraft, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 19129
School of Social Work, University of Texas
Arlington, TX 76019

The Culturally Competent Systems of Care Practices With Hispanic Children and Families project is funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90CT0132, under the Children's Bureau Priority Area: Field-Initiated Training Projects for Effective Child Welfare Practice With Hispanic Children and Families. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

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