October 2016
Beth Ann Rodriguez and Kelley Gruber
The OCWTP is constantly assessing the environment and listening to its constituents in an effort to maintain its viability and value to Ohio's child welfare system. This assessment provides us a map for growth and development. Trainers must also be aware of the needs and trends in the child welfare system in order to respond to them, thereby maintaining their value to the system.
In 2010 the OCWTP Needs Assessment Work Team collected data from PCSAs through focus groups and consolidated their findings. Caseworkers who participated in focus groups or completed surveys commented on the need for:
  • More in-depth training for seasoned staff
  • Increased application opportunities in classroom training
  • Supervisory-specific training regarding transfer of learning and motivating and empowering staff
Participating caseworkers also had these comments regarding caregiver training:
  • After initial training, they need in-depth training with less theory, and more "hands on" information.
  • Caregivers don't need another 6 hour overview... They need specific strategies about what to do...
  • Provide an overview and then build on it through a series of more in-depth trainings.
  • Give caregivers specific strategies they can use...
Our constituents continue to tell us we need to increase the level of depth and specificity of our learning activities. Overview/introductory learning activities typically address the awareness (first) level, as do our standardized trainings which include Core, Preservice, and Fundamentals of Fostering.   Many existing specialized and related workshops cover a broad range of information and don't address any one topic too deeply. If you have been with the OCWTP long enough, you've heard us refer to these broad-based workshops as going "a mile wide and an inch deep." These types of workshops are necessary in a competency-based training system. However, awareness and knowledge without understanding, application, and skill will not promote best practice.    
The second level of learning in a competency-based system is knowledge and understanding. Many of the current specialized and related learning activities offer knowledge, defined as "a body of concepts, principles, and factual information about a topic."*  Learning and repeating facts is an example of knowledge. But to be able to use the knowledge, participants have to develop understanding. The development of understanding cannot happen through a 20-minute lecture. Participants must be given time to draw parallels between the learning content and their personal experiences, as well as challenge their preconceived beliefs and attitudes, to promote an openness to considering other perspectives. They must simultaneously develop personal capacities for self-awareness and critical thinking.
The application learning level answers the question, "Now that I understand all this, how should I use it?" Application activities define and describe, often in considerable detail, how the new learning should be implemented within the day-to-day activities of the job. It also includes a variety of on-the-job and field-based learning activities that help the learner clearly define how to use newly acquired learning, describe the appropriate steps in completing job tasks, and articulate the skills they must yet develop to effectively perform each job activity.
Skill development is the fourth level of learning and is highly dependent on practice, coaching, feedback, technical assistance, and support. These activities typically take place on the job but must also be addressed by the training system. In order to move toward skill development, trainers need to develop learning activities that have a very narrow focus, and really drill down to help the participant understand the concepts, apply them to their job tasks, and begin to develop skills.
In order for OCWTP to continue to be viable and meet learning needs, it is vital for trainers to develop more learning activities focused on application and skill. Steps to take:
  • Select one or two areas to focus your expertise, areas in which you have received professional education and/or training and experience. Continue to develop your knowledge, understanding, and skill in that area and keep up with changes by reading professional literature and research on the subject matter. 
  • Assess the level of depth of your workshops.  Determine what you can do to take that learning activity to the next level of learning, and then take it there.
  • Consult with RTCs and IHS as you work on updates to your workshop to ensure you are moving in the right direction.

Descriptions of the levels of learning taken from Rycus and Hughes, Levels of Learning: A Framework for Organizing In-service Training.

Revised and updated from, Common Ground, October 2011.

Are You Ready for Winter?
This season brings the potential for great challenges for trainers who have to travel the state! It is a good time for you to review the weather advisory information found in the OCWTP Trainer Handbook starting on page 51. You will also find contact information from each of the RTCs that will be useful to you during this season.

Here is some helpful information from the  Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness:

Prepare a winter emergency kit for your vehicles. Supplies should include:
  •  At least two blankets or a sleeping bag
  •  Flashlight or battery-powered lantern and extra batteries
  •  Booster (jumper) cables
  •  Emergency flares
  •  Extra clothing, particularly boots, hats and mittens
  •  A steel shovel and rope to use as a lifeline
  •  Bottled water or juice and nonperishable high-energy foods (granola bars, raisins,  nuts, peanut butter or cheese crackers)
  •  First-aid kit and necessary medications
  •  Sand or non-clumping cat litter for tire traction, if your vehicle gets stuck in snow or  ice
  •  A cell phone and car charger
Trainer Tips

Levels of Learning Chart
Use the chart below to assist you in choosing methodologies that will help your learners achieve the identified learning objectives.

Level I: Awareness
Presentation and use of audiovisual aids
Experiential exercises 
Gives a broad overview of the topic and stimulates interest
Raises awareness and helps learners recognize what they have yet to learn
Level II: Knowledge/
Guided group discussion 
Directly challenging learners' thinking
Experiential exercises
Identifies and fills gaps in learners' knowledge,  exercising their critical thinking skills 
Exercises their critical thinking skills
Helps them apply their learning to a variety of problems and circumstances,  promoting self-awareness
Level III: Application
 to the Job
Experiential exercises 
On-the-job learning activities such as coaching and supervised practice
Allows them to demonstrate applying the concepts to practice 
Provides opportunity to practice applying the skills on the job, adjusting behavior based on feedback
Level IV:
Skill Development
O n-the-job learning activities such as practice, coaching, feedback, technical assistance, and support 
Provides considerable practice in a variety of settings and situations, with frequent constructive coaching and feedback 
From: Common Ground-2011
 Rycus and Hughes, Levels of Learning:
A Framework for Organizing Inservice Training

Foster Care Alumni Corner 

A Rare Opportunity

When Jamole Callahan heard about an opportunity to attend an  international foster care conference this past fall sponsored by   the International Foster Care Organization (IFCO) in the United  Kingdom, he got busy making the necessary preparations to   attend.  This annual event, held Oct 1-4 in Sheffield, UK, drew   a crowd of hundreds of foster care advocates representing 23  countries that came together to network and exchange  information about best practice in family-based foster care.  Jamole enjoyed the experience of being among a multi-cultural   audience where children, young people, foster caregivers, parents  whose children are in foster care, social workers, educators,  researchers, volunteers, media, policy makers and others met to  share experiences and support each other.
During the conference, Jamole presented a workshop on Engaging the Consumer which emphasized the value foster care alumni contribute to a child welfare training  program.  Jamole gained knowledge on how child welfare looks on a global scale, and got to see what other countries are doing to improve outcomes for youth.  He left the conference more enlightened and with three important takeaways:
  • Foster care is indeed a global issue
  • Implementation of policies and resources  are major barriers to improving outcomes 
  • There are still places that have no child welfare infrastructure, and, the needs and want to provide homes are high
Jamole regularly trains foster caregivers and child welfare staff for the OCWTP and several private agencies.  He says his trip to England helped broadened his perspectives and passion about the value of advocacy and training.  For more information about IFCO, visit, http://www.ifco.info/about-ifco/mission-statement.

Applause and Recognition 

Sister Madeleine Rybicki was named the NEORTC  2016 Trainer of the Year and was  honored at the 26th Annual Liaison Retreat on October 21, 2016 at the Brushwood Shelter, Richfield Ohio. As customary, the Trainer of the Year presents a three hour training to the liaisons.  Sister Madeleine's topic was, " Balancing Work and Life as a Child Welfare Professional: How to Renew and Refresh Your Mind, Body, and Soul to Avoid Burnout".  

Her years of training experiences, international travel and life lessons made for an exciting training.  She shared many stress reduction tools, techniques and strategies to take care of oneself; physically, emotionally and spiritually. Her training could be summed up by this quote:

"We have an obligation to our clients, as well as to ourselves, our colleagues and our loved ones, not to be damaged by the work we do."

Thank you Sister Madeleine for all that you are and all that you do for OCWTP! 

Meet Newly Approved
 OCWTP Trainers 

Virginia Lester

Adoption and Attachment Therapy Partners

  • Becoming a Love and Logic Parent 
  • Parenting with Love and Logic   
  • Caring for Toddlers with Love and Logic    

Carla Storer

Foster and Adoptive Parent
Highland, Clinton, and Clermont Counties 

  • Preservice

Kristie L. Heckman

Social Service Supervisor 
Clark County Department of Job & Family Services        

  • She is developing a workshop for caseworkers working with kinship families.

Gina Oriti

Adoption Caseworker 
Summit County Children Services 

  • Assessor Tier II - Openness in Adoption

Lucie D. Blumenthal

Director of Adoption Services
Adoption Circle

  • Assessor Tier I, Adoption Assistance 
  • Assessor Tier I, Placement Strategies 

April Barker-Casey

Social Worker/Therapist
Cincinnati Children's Hospital

  • She will develop trauma workshops for caregivers.

From Around the OCWTP
The Latest News, Updates, and Announcements 

          RTC News From Around Ohio 

Congratulations to our Staff Training Coordinator, Alexis, who was married in August. She is now Alexis Parsons. Her e-mail address will be changing but currently remains 

SEORTC staff participated in Athens County Children Services annual staff appreciation day held on November 4. The theme was the 80's. It was a fun afternoon, totally!

Welcome New RTC Staff! 

In July 2016, NEORTC welcomed Jessica Fought as our new clerical specialist for staff training. Jessica has a BA in Psychology and is also certified as a Social Work Assistant. Jessica is very motivated in helping to support staff trainers here at NEORTC  and is eager to learn more about NEORTC. As trainers come to train at NEORTC, please take a moment to say "welcome" to Jessica!  

Karla Davis-McGowan is the new Foster Care Coordinator for the NWORTC. Karla has worked at Lucas County Children Services for 27 years, most recently as a supervisor in the Placements Department. Karla is married with three children and recently her daughter gave birth to Nyla, Karla's first granddaughter.  

Goodbye Dilya Limes!

IHS said goodbye to Dilya in August. She was a great partner in our Trainer Development Team. We will miss her but we wish her well in her new adventures, raising her two sons and working in the family business.

Resources for OCWTP Trainers 

Check out the resources tagged  NEW!  to see what's been added this month.

Click here  to access  Resources for OCWTP Trainers

Trainer To-Do List 

Your Input Is Needed!

Please share your feedback and ideas about topics for future   issues of Common Ground by following  this link  

Upcoming OCWTP Learning Opportunities for Trainers 

So You Want to be an OCWTP Trainer 

January 23, 2017 - CORTC
May 22, 2017 - CORTC
Stand Up and Take Charge of the  Learning Environment    

December 1-2, 2016 - CORTC
February 7-8, 2017 - CORTC
April 18-19, 2017 - CORTC
June 6-7, 2017 - CORTC
Curriculum Development
November 29-30, 2016 - NEORTC
March 27-28, 2017 - CORTC
May 4-5, 2017 - CORTC 

Strengthening Presentation Design to Enhance Learning 
February 21 and 28, 2017 - Go-To-Training
Addressing Diversity Issues in Your Training

2017 OCWTP Trainer Conference 
April 10, 2017 - Crowne Plaza Columbus North Hotel 

For more information or to register please contact  Debra Sparrow .