Vol. 11, No. 1 December 2009
Building Awareness and Cultural Competency
New Course Is Required for All Child Welfare Staff within First Year
The NC Division of Social Services now offers Building Awareness and Cultural Competency, a three-day interactive, foundational training designed to enhance the cultural knowledge and sensitivity of social workers and supervisors working with culturally diverse individuals and families. This course was developed by the National Multicultural Institute.
This course is part of the core curriculum that all child welfare workers must receive and is mandatory for all new staff during their first year of employment. Experienced staff are also encouraged to participate in this training. In recognition of the number of core curricula required during the first year of employment, Effects of Separation and Loss on Attachment is no longer a mandated course.
Although it is no longer mandatory, all child welfare staff are still strongly encouraged to attend Effects of Separation and Loss; this course provides vital information about working with families and children and counts toward the 24-hour annual in-service training requirement.
Day two helps participants make connections between theory and their own experiences. Through group work, case studies, brief lectures, and activities, participants develop personal awareness by exploring their own cultural lenses, uncovering implicit biases and automatic assumptions, and examining the potential impact of these factors on interpersonal relationships and human services. This session also allows participants to develop strategies for interpersonal awareness through an exploration of cultural norms and values, communication styles, and approaches to building trust. Awareness-building is a critical first step in developing the competencies necessary for effectively responding to diverse families and communities.
The final day of the training introduces participants to a range of tools that facilitate continued personal awareness, cross-cultural communication and relationship-building, collaboration in multicultural communities, and conflict management, with ample opportunity for practice and reflection during the training session.
The training ends with an action planning session to establish a foundation of support to leverage the knowledge, awareness, and skills learned during the training and to create real and sustainable change.
* * * * * * * * *
Structure of the Training System
Child welfare training in North Carolina is organized in the following way:
The figure below illustrates the structure of our child welfare training system but is not a comprehensive listing. For a complete listing of courses offered by the system, visit ncswLearn.org.
© 2009 Jordan Institute for Families