The Expanding the Family Circle training offers strategies for working with all members of the family system
The Expanding the Family Circle training and curriculum was developed through a Child Welfare Training grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau. This grant supported a collaborative, community-based approach to designing a curriculum that sought multiple perspectives and partnerships across New York State.
The training was developed by a team of individuals with expertise across a range of areas. Significant input came from focus groups with women of color who had direct experience with child welfare services. In addition, members of New York State’s Native American Family Services Commission met with the curriculum team over the life of the project to help the training support Indian Child Welfare goals.
The curriculum also drew on partnerships between the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany and the New York Sate Office of Child and Family Services’ Bureau of Training; this helped ensure that the new training would build on existing child welfare training curricula in the state. New York State’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence provided valuable information and feedback regarding content on intimate partner violence.
The training approach is centered on adult learning principles and uses the ecological perspective and family systems theory as guiding frameworks for the content. Several underlying principles guided the work of the curriculum development team:
Families are diverse across cultures and communities.
Parents can be partners in raising their children even if they are not in the same household.
Fathers can contribute to the well-being of their policies that will support them as parents.
Couple relationships build on parents’ individual strengths to sustain healthy supportive relationships with spouses and potential spouses, including attention to the emotional and physical safety for both parents, the individual and joint capacity to understand and control fertility choices, and the individual and joint capacity to manage and plan their financial lives.
The Expanding the Family Circle training, designed to be delivered over two consecutive days, teaches a framework for the experienced caseworker to integrate a culturally competent family-centered approach to casework practice with all families engaged in child welfare services.
The training offers skills and strategies for working with all members of a family system, including couples, resident and non-resident fathers, extended family members and community supports. Participants will identify benefits and learn to address barriers to working across an entire family system with a culturally competent approach.
The training is organized into six modules designed to engage participants and promote trust-building as they move through the modules. Participants first learn the necessary concepts of cultural competence then learn how to integrate that learning into their practice and everyday life.
Grant # 90CT0120/02 was a discretionary grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau to the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany and ran from October 2003 to July 2009