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Webinar 2: Social Service Workforce Training Curricula: Training Programs and Tools to Support Frontline Workers

Webinar Summary and Recording

Click here to view the full webinar.

On September 8, 2011, the Social Service Workforce Strengthening Alliance hosted yet another well-attended webinar, focusing on the topic of Social Service Workforce Training Curricula: Training Programs and Tools to Support Frontline Workers.

A well-trained and well-motivated workforce is essential to address the social service needs of vulnerable children and their families. However, many countries have a limited supply of professionals with advanced degrees to address child support needs. In an effort to facilitate the social service workforce to meet the needs of a larger population, a number of training models have been developed to equip local community members with basic social work skills and support them to work with vulnerable children and families under the supervision of social work professionals.


This webinar presented several promising training models currently implemented in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including: a presentation by Kathy Scott of the National Association for Child Care Workers in South Africa about their Child and Youth Care Worker Training Course; a presentation by Lynette Mudekunye of REPSSI (the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative), which operates throughout East and Southern Africa, on their Community Based Work With Children and Youth Training Course; and a presentation on the Social Work HIV/AIDS Twinning Partnership for Vulnerable Children in Tanzania - Para-Social Work Training developed by Leah Omari of the Institute of Social Work in Tanzania and Dr. Nathan Linsk, Co-Principal Investigator of the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center, project director of the Tanzania and Triangle Twinning Center partnerships, and retired Professor of Jane Addams College of Social Work.


Dr. Linsk also served as the chair of the session, which addressed the following key points: (1) the content of the training program, including training topics and modules, (2) the process by which the training programs were developed and tested, (3) the impact of the program, (4) the extent to which the program had been institutionalized or accredited, (5) information on how to access for implement the training, and (6) advice for others wishing to develop or implement training programs for front-line community child care workers, child and youth care workers and para social workers.


Each of the three presentations was followed by a brief question and answer section and a longer discussion about the challenges and opportunities associated with training frontline workers.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Dr, Linsk noted that although community based training efforts have successfully enhanced the knowledge and skills of frontline workers, there is a need to establish values, ethics and other guidelines to ensure that programs provide quality service and “do no harm.” Courses should support ongoing professional development and career ladders and when possible be integrated into formal professional training efforts. They should also be part of an overall workforce development plan that addresses issues such as: (1) how graduates will be absorbed into the social service system, (2) how policies or regulations should be changed to accommodate these new workers, (3) how workers will they be supported (and paid, if appropriate) and (4) how the workforce be sustained.

For more information about the programs presented during the webinar, see links below:

Para-Social Work Training Program Helps Tanzania Improve Care for Vulnerable Children

Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative - Certificate Course in Community-based Work with Children and Youth

Open and Situated Distance Learning - National Association for Child Care Workers, South Africa