Promising Practices Program

Administering Organization

The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program is a collaborative partnership between Institute for Human Services, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Public Children Services Association of Ohio, and Regional Training Centers.

Program Name

Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP)

Program Objectives and Unique Needs Addressed

Founded in 1986, the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program is a comprehensive, competency-based in-service training system for staff, managers, adoptive, and foster parents in Ohio's 88 county Public Children Services Agencies. Designed as a state/county, public/private collaboration, the OCWTP develops and provides an array of trainings to promote mastery of the complex knowledge and skills needed to assure protection and permanence for Ohio's children at risk for abuse and neglect. Over the past 20 years the OCWTP has been addressing the need to consider cultural issues and to develop cultural competence in child welfare practice. Since the program's inception in 1986, OCWTP core curriculum for caseworkers has addressed cultural considerations in all stages of case planning and integrated them throughout the modules. Over the course of time, particularly in the last decade, the OCWTP has been developing and offering training on a wide range of topics specifically addressing issues of culture and diversity.

Program Description

Multiple Courses Offered:  The OCWTP offers a number of courses that are relevant to child welfare practitioners working with refugees and immigrants.  Such workshops include:

  1. Transcending Differences: Tools for Effective Practice in the 21st Century.  Designed to complement the foundational caseworker core modules and other resources that specifically address effective diversity practice in child welfare, this “Transcending Differences Toolkit” offers independent modules designed to (a) reinforce and extend on key issues offered in the foundational courses (b) provide opportunities for practice and skill building, and (c) be adaptable to a variety of learning formats—including self-learning modules, modules for coaching, and modules for inclusion in classroom training.
  2. Spanish to Go: This basic survival Spanish workshop offers basic language skills as a means by which caseworkers can make that initial effort to reach out in a client's native language and thereby demonstrate an attitude of cultural respect. As qualified trainers and additional resources are identified, the OCWTP may offer basic training in other languages as well.
  3. Ethics and Culture: This training explores (a) the ethical dilemmas caseworkers can face when working with families whose culturally-driven values differ from their own, and (b) the role effective diversity practice can play to help manage and address those dilemmas.

In addition, OCWTP trainers with the appropriate expertise are offering workshops that provide culturally-relevant information and that address issues applicable to specific communities, including some of the following:

  • African American Communities
  • Asian Communities
  • Appalachian Communities
  • Economically-Challenged Communities
  • GLBT Communities
  • Latino  Communities
  • Muslim Communities
  • Somali Communities

Resource Materials Used in Program

Resources from "Working with Families who are Muslim":

Resources from "Casework with the Immigrant and Refugee in Mind":

  • Curriculum - If child welfare trainers from other states are interested in reviewing a copy of this curriculum, please use the contact information below.
  • The entire BRYCS Web site and Clearinghouse is highlighted throughout the training.

General Resources:

  • Field Guide to Child Welfare
  • Protection and Permanence: An Integrated Model of Child Welfare Practice

Groups Served by Program

The OCWTP primarily serves public child welfare workers throughout Ohio, who ultimately serve families of all backgrounds across the state. Over the past 7 years (1999-2006), the three main refugee populations in Ohio were from Somalia, former Yugoslavia, and Russia. It should be noted that Columbus, Ohio now has one of the largest population of Somalis in the U.S.

Program Funding

The OCWTP is funded by a combination of federal, state and county dollars administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which includes some funding through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.

Program Staffing and Required Staff Training

The OCWTP utilizes the expertise and talents of approximately 300 qualified trainers. Each year, these trainers carry out approximately 2,100 days of training for child welfare staff throughout the state as well as 2,000 days of training for both prospective and licensed foster caregivers.

Program Evaluation

Workshop participants complete an OCWTP evaluation form following every workshop. Regardless of workshop topic, evaluation forms for staff include items with Likert scales (strongly agree/ agree/ neutral/ disagree/ strongly disagree) that invite trainees to evaluate the extent to which cultural issues in child welfare practice have been addressed during the training.

For every workshop whose topic is specific to cultural issues, the OCWTP is creating an evaluation that will have the capability to measure (1) a workshop's ability to address those cultural competencies that have been identified as learning objectives for that particular workshop and (2) the extent to which the trainer demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity toward the training group.

Program Outcomes

According to the American Society for Training and Development and the Learning Resources Network, while most organizations (77%) measure the value of training using satisfaction surveys at the end of workshops, very few organizations (36%) try to measure the learning that occurs as a result of training, and even fewer organizations (15%) attempt to measure if training resulted in a change of behavior. While the OCWTP has collected workshop satisfaction data since 1987, it is now one of the few statewide child welfare training programs to field test a process to measure the learning that occurs as a result of attending OCWTP workshops and then assess the transfer of learning from workshops to the agency workplace.

In 2006 OCWTP conducted pre- and post-testing in 23 Caseworker and Supervisor/Manager Core workshops and field-tested a form to collect demographic data to help analyze pre- and post-test results with several hundred training participants. In addition, feedback on OCWTP's evaluation design was solicited from over 150 county and state child welfare professionals, Public Children Services Association of Ohio representatives, and OCWTP staff. Working with university-based researchers, child welfare professionals, and training experts, the OCWTP continues to revise the evaluation methodology to ensure that it strikes the right balance between what is required in field-based evaluation research and what is feasible and practical in a statewide training system that serves 88 county agencies.

Additional Comments

Program Contact

Leslie Ahmadi
(614) 251-6000 ext. 25

Program Dates

The Ohio Child Welfare Program was established in 1986; the specific initiative to train child welfare workers on working with immigrants and refugees began in 2007. This program is still operating as of November 2010.