The Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA) Monthly Newsletter
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December 2021

Welcome to The Acorn! Each month we share the latest trainings, data, and resources available to child welfare professionals throughout Minnesota.

Training Portal Registration Begins in January

This January we are launching the Training Portal, a new application to centralize registration, learning records, and course information for all trainings offered by the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA). This new system will be used by all Minnesota county and tribal workers for child welfare training that was previously scheduled through TrainLink. Over the past six weeks we have been piloting the Training Portal with a small number of workers, supervisors, and trainers, and would like to thank them for their feedback and willingness to help us make improvements.

During the week of January 10, supervisors and tribal leaders will be contacted to set up their Training Portal accounts. More information will be available at that time, and our staff will be available to answer questions, troubleshoot issues, and hopefully make this process as easy as possible. Then, during the week of January 18, county workers will begin receiving invitations to create their Training Portal accounts. With the exception of Monday, January 17, our staff will be available to address any issues or questions that may arise.

For the first few months there will be some overlap between TrainLink and the Training Portal. As we move courses over to the new system, our hope is to minimize confusion and frustration while striving to offer quality training. If there is a course you wish to take that is available in TrainLink but not yet in the Training Portal, you can register in TrainLink as you normally would. Once that course is available in the Training Portal, those who have already registered will be contacted and given steps to update their registration. As of April 2022, all Training Academy course registration will take place through the Training Portal.

Thank you in advance for your patience as we make this transition. We are excited about the features and benefits that will come with this new system; and, as with all of our efforts, we hope the Training Portal will contribute to an improved and valuable training experience. As always, feel free to contact us with your questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, check out this recent blog post about the Training Portal.

Upcoming Trainings
The trainings below are currently available in TrainLink. If you have already registered for any of these courses in TrainLink or plan to do so prior to the January launch of the new Training Portal, you will be contacted in January with instructions on how to transfer your registration to the new Training Portal. In the future, you will be able to register for our trainings directly through the Training Portal. If you have questions, contact us at

Case Planning

January 13 | 9:00AM-4:00PM | Online

Participants will utilize strengths-based strategies in case planning with complex families in the child welfare system. Participants will complete goals and tasks for Child Protective Services and Out of Home Placement Plans. To register, email

Legal Practice Skills

February 7 | 9:00AM-4:00PM | Online

This is a "must take" class for anyone who may find themselves involved in child protection legal proceedings. Federal and Minnesota law requires county agencies to engage in reasonable efforts to support families involved in the child welfare system. This class discusses how case workers can do so by learning about their roles and responsibilities, collaborating with other courtroom professionals, and focusing on families’ cultures and strengths. Additionally, this class will cover in-depth the role of the case worker in court proceedings, including proper documentation, preparing for various court hearings, and tips for testifying at trials. Registration opens in mid-January.

Domestic Violence Co-Occurrence: Partnering and Engaging Parents
February 16 | 9:00AM-4:00PM | Online

This training will address crucial aspects of best practice in co-occurrence cases—both partnering with non-offending parents and engaging offenders in accountability and change. Training will include both historical/theoretical and practical/applied information, focusing on strengths-based practice. In particular, participants will utilize two key protocols and practice applying them in scenario-based exercises to help build skills to enhance field work. Registration opens in mid-January.

FGDM Orientation/Facilitator
March 8-9 | 9:00AM-4:00PM Each Day | Online

This class explains the Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) process, an approach to working with families/youth involved with the child welfare system. FGDM is a decision-making process that increases the use of kinship care, capitalizes on family strengths, and affirms cultural diversity. It creates a partnership between the family and service providers and other professionals; recognizing that families can make well-informed decisions about themselves. Families are engaged and empowered by child welfare agencies to make decisions and develop plans that nurture their children and youth and protect them from further abuse and neglect. An overview of the principles and phases of FGDM, including which cases are appropriate for referral to the FGDM process, is provided. Individuals will learn the specific skills, strategies, and techniques fundamental to facilitating and coordinating Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) meetings in the context of child welfare. The training will include a review of the history, philosophy, and practice elements of FGDM. Registration opens in mid-January.

Advanced Practical Training - Collaborative Safety
March 23-25 | 9:00AM-12:00PM Each Day | Online

This training is designed for child protection staff. The Institute lays the groundwork for participants' knowledge about systems safety. The content provides a framework of systems safety and is designed to engage participants with a comprehensive and holistic introduction to human factors and systems safety. The Institute is directed towards teaching participants on integrating safety science concepts into the daily work of child protection. Attention is given to current roles, administrative rules, and legislative mandates so that concepts are able to be embedded into everyday work that is compatible with these roles, rules, and mandates. Registration opens in mid-January.

Accommodation Requests

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a training, contact us as soon as possible at

If you need to cancel, even if it seems last minute, please contact Our class sizes tend to be small and we often have a waiting list. Trainees who miss more than 30 minutes of any given training will not receive CEUs; for required training you will need to repeat the entire course.

Training Data | November 2021
198 hours of training, 249 attendees, 55 counties represented, 66 hours of ICWA foundation trained by TTCP

Visit here to view the complete training report for November. Indian Child Welfare (ICWA) Foundation training is developed and provided by the Tribal Training and Certification Partnership (TTCP).
Staff Highlights

The Curriculum Development team within the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy is excited to introduce you to their three newest staff members. Learn more about these talented individuals, as well as the skills and expertise they will bring to the training experience.

Kurt Hattenberger

Kurt Hattenberger
Simulation Specialist

Kurt has enjoyed a diverse career as an educator, musician, and conductor. Originally trained as a music teacher, Kurt has worked with varied groups in the classroom, paraprofessional settings, and the community. After working with the M Simulation Standardized Patient program at the University of Minnesota Medical School, he decided to begin to pursue simulation as a career.
Learn more...

Angie Lauer-Schaeppi

Angie Lauer-Schaeppi
Curriculum Developer

Angie has a variety of experience, education, and passions she brings to her role as Curriculum Developer. Over the last 10 years Angie has practiced as a mental health therapist, helping adolescents and families navigate life events. She also has experience teaching, advising, and collaborating in the field of higher education. Angie is currently working on completing her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus on instruction and development.
Learn more...

Tom Kapocius

Tom Kapocius
Curriculum Developer

Tom previously worked at Capella University for 12 years in course development, and prior to that, he taught as an English and Journalism instructor at the high school level. He grew up in Milwaukee and attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate in Journalism. He has a Ph.D. in instructional design and currently lives in Minneapolis. He has two grown children (20 and 18) and enjoys biking and being outdoors.
Learn more...

Employment Opportunities
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The Training Academy is accepting applications for the following positions:

  • Community Trainer for Legal Practice Course
  • Evaluation and Credentialing Specialist (Two Open Positions)

Please help us spread the word about these positions. Learn more about these employment opportunities on our website.

New Qualified Individual Training Now Available
The Training Academy is pleased to announce the availability of a new training opportunity that is designed to help reduce the number of children in child care institutions. In support of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA or Family First), training is now available to prepare clinicians and community members to become Qualified Individuals (QIs). Learn more...

SSIS Child Protection Basics Courses
The SSIS Training Team conducted a training assessment at the end of 2020 and results indicated that workers and mentors were interested in scaling up the SSIS Child Protection Worker training to a virtual platform as well as breaking up the existing 8 hour training into shorter segments. As of September 28, additional SSIS Child Protection Basics courses are available for enrollment in TrainLink. Learn more...

Foster Parent College
Learn more about Foster Parent College (FPC) and the FPC Pre-Service Training option. For agencies that need to register families, Cohort 5 begins on Thursday, Jan. 13. Learn more...

Human Trafficking Training Requirement
In September, the Training Academy shared an article about the new human trafficking training requirement, as well as information about some of our training offerings. This led to full classes and large waiting lists. That article was later updated to share more info about new training options that will be available by March 2022. DHS has also shared information for certified programs for victims or those at risk of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation related to a training deadline extension. We will continue to share information as it becomes available.

In-Person Training
All training provided by MNCWTA will continue online through March 2022. Decisions are being made on a month-by-month basis to ensure the safety of our learners and trainers.

FFPSA Webinar Recordings and Resources Available
Webinar recordings and supporting resources related to the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) are still available. The 11/30/21 session of SSIS and the Relative Search was recently added. Learn more...

FFPSA Listening Sessions for Supervisors
County and tribal agency supervisors are encouraged to attend upcoming regional Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) listening sessions in early 2022. If you supervise staff working in child welfare, child protection, children’s mental health, developmental disabilities, and/or waivered services such as community access for disability inclusion (CADI), learn more here.

Other Training Opportunities

Social and Medical Histories Training
The DHS Permanency Quality Assurance team will provide a WebEx-based training on children’s social and medical histories on Dec. 15, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, visit Child protection, foster care, adoption: Training and scroll down to the section titled Conferences, trainings, and webinars, then open Training. If you have any questions, contact

Options for FASD Training Requirement

Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.175 requires that all child foster care license holders and caregivers in foster family and treatment foster care settings, as well as all staff providing care in foster residence settings, must complete annual training that includes at least one hour of training on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) within the first 12 months of licensure and then annually thereafter. Learn more...

Child Welfare Workforce Wellness

The best way to thrive during these trying times is to find ways to take care of yourself. Following are several options that may be helpful:
  • Often our minds are off and running and it’s only when we bring ourselves back to the present moment that we experience life as it’s really happening. Check out this article on Living a Heart-Centered Life from the PACEs Connection.
  • The Greater Good Science Center asks: Can Any Good Come of Our COVID Lockdowns? This article offers some techniques for thriving during this time, and shares how it is an opportunity for some to discover newfound appreciation for important aspects of their lives.

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Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA), 1711 County Road B, Suite 200N, Roseville, MN 55113, United States

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The Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA) is a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Safety and Permanency Division and the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

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