Training for Professionals
in the Child Welfare System

In partnership with the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Children and the Colorado Department of Human Services,  Illuminate Colorado offers a variety of courses for caseworkers and supervisors on child welfare practice and family engagement through the Colorado Welfare Training System.

You can access multiple web-based trainings and easily search for upcoming sessions of seminars to meet your learning needs at coloradocwts.com.

All Families Have Strengths

Approaching families from a strength based perspective is crucial to our work and impact on the well-being of families. Knowing and understanding what strengths actually create protection for children is more difficult to operationalize. Knowing how to identify relevant family strengths can be even more difficult when we all have implicit bias. 

Course Details

Through the use of the Center for the Study of Social Policies Protective Factor Framework, workers are able to talk in depth about the strengths that are already present.  Workers will be able to identify the five protective factors,  the behaviors associated with each, and simple ways to support families in harnessing them to minimize risk.

Impacts and Implications of Prenatal Substance Exposure

This interactive one-day classroom course is designed to give you a better understanding of the impacts of prenatal exposure to substances on a fetus, an infant, a child and an adolescent.

Course Details

You’ll cycle through six stations, gaining knowledge about how different substances specifically affect development, and you’ll categorize nine brain processes and associated behaviors that may be affected by prenatal exposures to understand the impacts on children and youth throughout their lifetime.

Through hands-on activities, you will apply your learnings directly to case scenarios to give you opportunities to consider the application to your practice.

Upon completion of this course, you will comprehend the short- and long-term impacts on
brain development and functioning, as well the unique challenges associated with maternal
substance abuse and the implications for child safety. Additionally, you will be armed with
knowledge to identify children and adolescents who have experienced prenatal substance
exposure and the confidence to move forward with these cases.

Building Safety When Parents Use Substances

This interactive one-day classroom course gives you the foundation you will need in order to identify when substance use is impacting child safety. You’ll also learn how to build a consistent response when working with families impacted by substance use.

Course Details

A best-practice response is contingent upon familiarity with the dynamics of substance use, abuse, and addiction. So we’ll familiarize you with those dynamics and give you the opportunity to consider the impacts of substance use on child welfare practice—from screening to assessment to an ongoing case. You’ll leave informed and equipped to enhance safety-building practices with families when substance use is a factor.

Enhancing Practice With Families Impacted by Substance Abuse

Assessing for risk and safety when parental substance use is present can be complex and calls for increased comfort in talking with families about their substance use and possible impacts on children. 

Course Details

This interactive two-day training, suitable for new caseworkers, experienced caseworkers, and supervisors alike, offers advanced skill building. Teams or units are also invited to attend together. We’ll combine instruction with an emphasis on sharing successes and
overcoming challenges through practical experiences and live simulations with
professional actors.

Marijuana, Children and Families

Colorado is one of only a few states in the nation to have enacted laws allowing both medical and recreational marijuana use and cultivation. As our state embarks on this path, it is critical that those of us who work in child welfare be well informed. In order to make the best decisions regarding the safety of and risks to children, we need to understand both the laws and the possible hazards marijuana poses to children. 

Course Details

In this classroom course, you’ll engage in scenario-based learning and discussion of the complexities inherent in this changed legal landscape. The knowledge and skills you acquire in this learning experience will help guide your decision making in difficult cases and assist in individualized case planning with families to build child safety and promote healthy families. Through this course, you’ll start to recognize your own values and beliefs about marijuana, enhance your competencies for responding to challenging situations, and leverage existing knowledge and practice approaches.

Supporting Families When Children and Youth Display Problematic Sexual Behaviors

When children or youth engage in problematic sexual behavior, developing a plan to support the child and family can be complicated. In this course, learners will gain an understanding of what constitutes problematic sexual behavior, how to recognize it, and how to support families before and after adjudication.

Course Details

This interactive one-day classroom course will explore complex situations to safely analyze common concepts and practices, including 24/7 line of sight, informed supervision, and working within a treatment team.

Harnessing Protective Factors With Families

Knowing and understanding how the protective factors are applicable within our work with families means creating better outcomes for families.  This class will build on All Families Have Strengths and give workers the opportunity to practice how they will support families as they identify and build their protective factors. By increasing our capacity to integrate family centered coaching techniques into our work with families, we can transform the experience of families involved and become partners.  

Course Details

Through self-reflection and practice, workers will deepen their capacity to connect with families seeking to actively build their resilience, knowledge and ability to enact the protective factors and capacities with the children in their lives.

The Birds, The Bees and The Stork

Talking about sexual development and sexuality doesn’t have to be awkward or difficult. In this interactive one-day classroom course facilitated by Illuminate Colorado, learners will gain an increased understanding of healthy sexual development in children and youth. 

Course Details

Through activities and discussion, learners will be able to identify developmentally expected behaviors and distinguish those from concerning behaviors. As part of the course, learners will explore how to do the following:

  • Create and promote healthy boundaries and structures,
  • Talk about sexuality with various audiences, including children, youth, and caregivers, and
  • Make informed decisions to promote healthy sexual development and prevent concerning behaviors.
ECHO: In Depth With Substance Abuse
Course Details
In this virtual series of six 60-minute case-based learning experiences, you’ll explore the following:
  • Indications of substance use and how to identify substances, paraphernalia, and a person under the influence
  • What drug tests really reveal—and the complications associated with interpreting test results
  • Treatment evaluations and the importance of supporting families in accessing the right level of treatment at the right time
  • Facts and myths about medication-assisted treatment
  • Approaches for supporting families in recovery and working to prevent relapse
  • Various decision points in the life of a child welfare case and how to assess and ensure for parental capacity at each point

 

ECHO: Infant Early Childhood Mental Health
Course Details

Infant early childhood mental health—whether typical or disrupted—has lifelong implications for a child’s capacity to relate to their environment.

In this series of five 60-minute interactive ECHO sessions, you’ll expand your knowledge and understanding of issues related to early childhood mental health.

You’ll explore how brain development, attachment, and toxic stress affect children, and you’ll consider how negative impacts can be mitigated, including resilience building and where child welfare practice can intervene to support families.

ECHO: The Opioids Crisis
Course Details

Infant early childhood mental health—whether typical or disrupted—has lifelong implications for a child’s capacity to relate to their environment.

In this series of five 60-minute interactive ECHO sessions, you’ll expand your knowledge and understanding of issues related to early childhood mental health.

You’ll explore how brain development, attachment, and toxic stress affect children, and you’ll consider how negative impacts can be mitigated, including resilience building and where child welfare practice can intervene to support families.

ACES: What’s in a Score

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events occurring before age 18 and include all types of abuse and neglect, as well as parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration, and domestic violence. The repeated stress of these experiences has proven effects on the development of the brain, with the impact occurring over a lifetime. People who experienced high levels of trauma as children are at a much higher risk for health issues, such as heart disease and lung cancer. The long-term impact of adverse childhood experiences gained wider acceptance through the landmark CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study.

Course Details

In this interactive Web-based training, you’ll explore the study and lessons learned. You’ll also gain an understanding of how toxic stress can impact brain development and, in turn, long-term health and well-being outcomes. Furthermore, you will begin to explore prevention and intervention strategies to help mitigate the impact of ACEs.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) affect nearly 30 percent of children and youth in the foster care and adoption system and 15 to 25 percent of those in the juvenile justice system. Do you know how to support children, youth, and families who are impacted by them?

 

Course Details

This Web-based training, with customized content for both caseworkers and caregivers, explores the research around the impacts of fetal alcohol exposure and how FASD affects behavior and functioning. You’ll examine what FASD looks like to adults and think about what it feels like to an affected child or youth. Using case scenarios, you’ll explore practical strategies and interventions for supporting these children and youth at home, in school, and in the community.

Whether you’re a caregiver or a caseworker, your involvement with children or youth with FASD will be even more successful when you hone the skills for supporting them in managing their behavior and negotiating their daily life and know how to access community resources and specialized services.

Legalized Marijuana: Considerations for Child Safety

The legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use in Colorado has brought with it many questions about its impact on children and families. In this interactive learning experience, learners will explore to what extent marijuana use or cultivation may affect child safety. 

 

Course Details

This web-based training provides:

  • an overview of Colorado’s marijuana laws,
  • an introduction to marijuana and its effects on the body and behavior and
  • a summary of existing research on the impacts on infants, children, teens and adults.
The Substance Use Puzzle: Putting Together the Pieces

Issues of substance use and abuse within families can be a complex puzzle. Its various pieces—a family’s struggles, needs, strengths, and supports—cohere to form a unique picture of the impact of substance use on parental functioning and parenting capacity. Through this interactive web-based training, learners will better understand all of the pieces of this puzzle and how they fit together. 

 

Course Details

Learners will gain insight into the different substances of use/abuse and their effects, the role of drug testing, the science of addiction, and substance use treatment. And they’ll explore how all of these connect to reveal the impact of substance use on children and families.

    The Substance Use Puzzle: Putting Together the Pieces

    Issues of substance use and abuse within families can be a complex puzzle. Its various pieces—a family’s struggles, needs, strengths, and supports—cohere to form a unique picture of the impact of substance use on parental functioning and parenting capacity. Through this interactive web-based training, learners will better understand all of the pieces of this puzzle and how they fit together. 

     

    Course Details

    Learners will gain insight into the different substances of use/abuse and their effects, the role of drug testing, the science of addiction, and substance use treatment. And they’ll explore how all of these connect to reveal the impact of substance use on children and families.

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