The Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA) Monthly Newsletter
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July 2020

Welcome to The Acorn, a new monthly newsletter from the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA). As we continue transitioning from the DHS Child Welfare Training System to the MNCWTA, we are looking for ways to improve communication with child welfare professionals throughout Minnesota. While we will continue to post regularly to our social media accounts and our blog, as well as send relevant email announcements, our hope is that this newsletter can capture a broader view of updates, trainings, and resources needed in the field.

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Over the next year we also plan to take a deep dive into the Framework for Competent Child Welfare Practice, focusing on a different competency each month to better understand the intent and how each applies to child welfare workers and supervisors. Check out this video overview of the competencies.

This July we will look at the worker competency of Cultural Responsiveness, which articulates the expectation that workers demonstrate a working knowledge of and sensitivity to the dynamics of diversity, respecting and learning from the unique characteristics and strengths of families and tribes, and applying these concepts and skills to enhance individual and family functioning.

For supervisors we will explore the competency of Supervision, which asks supervisors to support the workforce in the development of the knowledge, skills, and abilities/attitudes required to successfully meet the expectations of the job. Look for more information and opportunities to engage on these competencies throughout the month.

To ensure seamless delivery of future communications, please be sure to add to your email address book. And please encourage your colleagues to join our mailing list (located at the bottom of our website).

Upcoming Trainings

While the COVID-19 pandemic prevents us from offering in-person trainings, we have moved most of our training offerings online and delivered exclusively through Zoom Video Communications. If you have questions please let us know at

Signs of Safety (CSP8301B) | August 5-7 | Online (FULL)
This three day workshop will cover the basic principles, skill, and tools of Sign of Safety (SofS). This will include, but not be limited to: A Signs of Safety overview and brief history; Appreciative Inquiry; The Questioning Approach; Harm and Danger Statements and Safety Goals; Three Houses, Safety House; Mapping; Safety Planning and Safety Networks. To add your name to the waitlist visit TrainLink and select Class Schedule.

Structured Decision Making (CSP204C) | August 5 | Online
This training will refresh the professional's knowledge and deepen understanding of the application of SDM safety and risk assessments, and strengthen the connection between the safety assessment and safety planning. Additional outcomes include understanding the "why" behind the SDM assessments and how to connect engagement skills with assessments. Each day will cover an in depth look at the safety and risk assessments, and incorporate practice and engagement skills with families. To register visit TrainLink and select Class Schedule.

Best Practices in Child Maltreatment Cases Involving Domestic Violence (CSP310C1) | August 12 | 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. To register visit TrainLink and select Class Schedule.

Other Trainings
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Child Welfare Foundation Training (referred to as Foundations or CWFT) is designed and developed for new child protection workers. It provides skill and practice intensive content, consists of classroom (currently online) and online modules completed over a six month period, and facilitated using a cohort model to enable networking and professional development. Cohorts are scheduled based on new hires throughout Minnesota. If you have questions about Foundations Training, please contact us at


SSIS Coffee Talk Tuesdays for Fiscal and Worker Mentors
These webinars are for all Social Service Information System (SSIS) mentors and coordinators and will focus on specific SSIS topics. The first webinar is on Tuesday, July 28 at 9:00 a.m. and will discuss setting up new users/profiles in SSIS and Horizon, and what to do when an SSIS user leaves your agency. All webinars will be offered via Zoom; registration is required. Questions regarding topics are appreciated in advance and should be directed to the SSIS Help Desk.

Updated Website and Training Registration
Very soon we will add new features to our website that will include regular updates, resources, training information, and more. This expansion of our website aims to improve the availability of training information and opportunities for our stakeholders. The next update of our website will take place in early 2021 with the launch of a new Learner Management System. Until then, Child welfare professionals should continue to register for Training Academy courses using the DHS TrainLink system (search for courses using Class Schedule). Foundations training for new workers is the exception and is scheduled through your supervisor.

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Roseville Training Location
The first Training Academy site managed to continue construction over the summer and is scheduled to be completed this fall. Although our ability to offer in-person trainings will remain contingent on social distancing expectations from the State, as well as from DHS and the U of M, we look forward to eventually utilizing this training space.

Regional Learning Centers Request for Proposal (RFP)
To offer better access and statewide training throughout Greater Minnesota, a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to establish four additional training spaces should open in early fall 2020. We will continue to give updates on this as we learn more.

Give Us Your Feedback
The Training Academy is looking for feedback about how we can best meet the training and coaching needs of child welfare workers and supervisors. Your feedback will help us to improve training efforts and strengthen the Minnesota child welfare workforce. Let us know what you think!

Blog Posts

The Training Academy adds new blog posts regularly to keep stakeholders updated on the latest information. To review previous blog posts you can always visit our website. Below are some of the most recent blog posts that you may have missed. If you have ideas for future blog posts, let us know at

Child Welfare Workforce Wellbeing

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:

  • Self-Care Starter Kit - No matter where you are on your self-care journey, these resources from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work are appropriate for both students in training and for professionals already working in the field.
  • Practicing Resilience in Community Recordings - These recorded sessions from the Minnesota Communities Caring for Children provide tools for calming our nervous system and integrating all the parts of our brain so we can be at our best in the challenges that we face.

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

Photo in the Child Welfare Foundation Training section by Christina Morillo from Pexels.

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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