Much of the success of the Office of Training and Workforce Development (OTWD) stems from the strength of its partnerships with a variety of agencies, internal and external. All of these agencies share a core mission to provide foundational and continuous learning for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice direct service staff and supervisors.
Productive partnerships stem from a clear foundation and consistent support. Cheryl Beamon, Associate Commissioner for OTWD, says, “Partners share our commitment to four key principles: transparency, trust, racial justice, and social justice. We work together to shift organizational culture and workforce development, keeping equity and quality top of mind.”
During Fiscal Year 2022, OTWD meaningfully grew partnerships with ACS divisions to support staff professional learning. Several courses came to fruition, including SCR Reform Bill: Promoting Equity Through Legislative Changes, whose implementation is due to changes in state law impacting child welfare work. New York State determined more training was needed around the use of the Statewide Central Register (SCR). This course, developed with the Division of Child Protection (DCP) and Family Court Legal Services (FCLS), serves that need. To learn more about the impact of this course, click here.
Another example of a meaningful partnership is the course Motivational Interviewing: Investigative Strategies. This course uses critical thinking skills and motivational interviewing techniques to gather information to make accurate assessments of children and families. It was developed with the Division of Child Protection and is available for their direct service staff and supervisors, as well as to learners in the NYPD.
A New Audience: NYPD
One of this fiscal year’s greatest achievements is the work between the James Satterwhite Academy (JSA) and the NYPD to redevelop the course, Mandated Reporter Training: Identifying Child Abuse and Maltreatment, for their Domestic Violence Unit officers.
“This course is nothing short of groundbreaking,” states Cynthia Wells, Executive Director of James Satterwhite Academy “Born out of tragedy, JSA partnered with the NYPD to facilitate instructor led training for their officers who, on any given day, may respond to an incident in which they need to determine whether there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment.”
The course teaches officers how to be aware of physical and behavioral indicators of abuse or maltreatment, as well as the best practice ways to respond, including when and how to report to the SCR. Course facilitators share deep knowledge about the nuances of child abuse situations. The response from Domestic Violence Unit Officers who took the ACS training has been positive.
A domestic violence officer in Brooklyn says the two-day training was informative. “I enjoyed how interactive the lessons were and how they split us into groups so we could brainstorm and bring our ideas together. It helped me understand the everyday issues families go through while having knowledge in ways to help the family. It also helped me understand the different marks of physical abuse, which would be very useful when dealing with babies, toddlers and young victims who are shy or cannot communicate well.”
Another domestic violence officer in Queens described a real-world situation that occurred after they took the course. They were conducting a home visit with a 12-year-old victim who shared that they were experiencing pain in the throat and head. The officer said the training made them more aware and sensitive to both the physical and psychological effects of strangulation on this victim and prompted them to ask more questions and provide appropriate resources.
“Officers have expressed that the training has made them more aware of what details to look for when investigating and responding to these highly sensitive cases”, explains Lt. Michael Eichner of the NYPD Domestic Violence Unit. “The training has provided them with more tools to help the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence. Overall, the training has been an asset to these officers and their supervisors and has assisted with the NYPD’s goal of keeping families safe.”
Foundation of OTWD Is Partnership
Strong partnering is an integral part of OTWD. The office itself was established due to a partnership between ACS and the City University of New York (CUNY)’s School of Professional Studies and Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Within OTWD, the James Satterwhite Academy and ACS Workforce Institute work interdependently. Internal partnerships with the six different divisions of ACS are essential to develop and implement on new and ongoing professional learning opportunities.
Additional partnerships aimed at providing training for teams in the Department of Education, Department of Homeless Services, and NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation initiated in FY22 and are planned for launch in FY23 and beyond. Together, these innovative trainings and collaboration efforts enhance the service and protection New York City provides to its children and families.