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CWDS Curriculum

Mental Health and Mental Disorders

Level: Core (Tier 2), Advanced Practice – Lineworker, Supervisor

Credits: 6

Intended Audience: This statewide standardized subject matter is designed for new child welfare workers who are required to take this training within 24 months of being employed at a public child welfare agency (hired after July 1, 2008). Supervisors and current child welfare workers employed in public child welfare agencies are invited to update their knowledge and skills in mental health and mental disorders as it applies to the field of child welfare in California.

Intended Objectives:

  • Recognize how commonly occurring mental disorders can affect a person’s ability to parent.
  • Recognize the range of social functioning and intervention responses among children, adolescents, and adults who experience symptoms of mental and emotional disorders.
  • Recognize that biological, psychological, cultural and environmental factors influence the mental health functioning of family members.
  • Describe the role of the child welfare worker and the roles of various health care and mental health professionals who work with parents, adolescents and children with mental health disorders.
  • Value the child welfare worker’s role in educating families, collaterals, service providers, and colleagues about common misperceptions associated with certain mental disorders.
  • Recognize common case plan interventions that are most often used by child welfare workers to assist children, adolescents and caregivers suffering from mental disorders.

Topics Include:

  • Review of major mental health disorders of adults
  • Review of major mental health disorders of children
  • Case scenarios of an adult and child that address mental health treatment needs in the case planning process for child welfare workers
  • Identification of case plan interventions that are most often used by child welfare workers in working with adults and children suffering from mental disorders

CalSWEC Competencies Addressed:

1.1 The student will demonstrate sensitivity to clients’ differences in culture, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

2.12 Student understands how attachment, separation, and placement affect a child and family and how these experiences may influence a child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

2.14 Student understands the importance of working together with biological families, foster families, and kin networks, involving them in assessment and planning and helping them cope with special stresses and difficulties.

2.17 Student demonstrates the ability to assess his or her own emotional responses to clients, co-workers, and situations in which the worker’s values are challenged.

2.20 Student understands and utilizes the case manager’s role to create and sustain a helping system for clients, a system that includes collaborative child welfare work with members of other disciplines.

3.4 The student will demonstrate understanding of the influence of culture on human behavior and family dynamics.

4.3 Student understands client and system problems and strengths from the perspectives of all participants in a multidisciplinary team and can effectively maximize the positive contributions of each member.

6.3 Student understands the requirements for effectively serving and making decisions regarding children with special needs and the balancing of parental and child rights.

7.2 Student demonstrates the ability to recognize potential for violence, suicide, and other potentially harmful behaviors.

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