SOP Course Listings

SOP Course Listings

This page features information and course materials for all of the Safety Organized Practice (SOP) courses the Northern California Training Academy regularly offers. This does not include trainings the Academy tailors specifically to individual counties upon request. If you would like to enroll in one of the courses below, please visit the Northern California Training Academy website for upcoming dates and locations.    


SOP Foundational Institute

Note: Completion of this foundational training is required prior to attending Advanced SOP offerings

Safety Organized Practice (SOP) seeks to form a constructive, purposeful focus among all the stakeholders involved with children and families by generating a clear, shared understanding of the problems facing that family and a straightforward vision of what future safety for the children needs to look like.

SOP's use of methods, including appreciative inquiry, cultural humility, solution-focused therapy, and motivational interviewing, when integrated with the reliability and validity of the Structured Decision-Making tools, create a powerful and deepened approach to child welfare practice.

After attending this foundational training, successful participants will be able to:

  • Use the three questions during a safety mapping process with families to help get all family members on the same page regarding worries and what has worked well
  • Use the Three Houses tool to incorporate the use of the child’s voice
  • Create danger statements and safety goals to help reach shared agreement about why CPS is involved
  • Utilize safety circles to help build a network of support
  • Create meaningful safety plans with families

Further, successful participants will understand how the development of good working relationships with families and the creation of detailed plans for enhancing safety will allow for rigorous and thorough case work practice. .                

Advanced SOP Courses

Case Plans and Court Reports

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is required prior to attending this training.

Using safety mapping, harm and danger statements, safety planning, and the Three Houses tool, this workshop will explore strategies for integrating these safety organized practices into case plans and court reports. This one day workshop will address:

  • Alignment of harm and danger statements with court reports
  • Case plans that clearly address safety goals and safety plans
  • Ensuring the child's voice in case planning through use of the Three Houses tool
  • Using safety mapping with families to clarify and guide the case planning process Aligning safety organized practice with mandated child welfare practices that engage the family and their safety network will aid in creating clear expectations to ensure the safety of children.


Family Safety Networks

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is required

Developing a support system for families is a central component of safety organized practice. The process of identifying people who care about the family and can support the family in achieving and maintaining safety for the child in the home is critical to the long-term success of the family. One tool that can be used to help families identify their support system is family safety networks.

After attending this training, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the structure and function of and rationale for building safety networks
  • Understand the relationship between safety networks and the SDM system
  • Utilize multiple tools to identify and strengthen safety networks
  • Understand where to begin in building a family safety network
  • Identify when it is or is not appropriate to involve a child in a safety network meeting

This full-day workshop will build knowledge and skills in developing family safety circles, and designing family safety networks that will be the family's support system beyond the closure of their child welfare case.


Harm and Danger Statements, Safety Goals

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational training is required

Harm and danger statements are utilized to ensure that everyone, i.e., the agency, the family and the safety network, are all in agreement regarding why CPS is involved with the family. The safety goal is a concrete description of the positive changes CPS must observe in the family to close the case.

At the end of this class session, participants will be able to:

  • Develop clear harm and danger statements
  • Develop safety goals
  • Incorporate harm and danger statements and safety goals into child welfare practice with families and their support networks, in court reports, case plans, family facilitated meetings, TDMs and in their work with community partners.

These deceptively simple statements and goals take some time to construct, but once made, can be shared with family members, community partners, court officials and anyone interested in supporting the safety of the children involved in the case.


Integrating the Child’s Perspective: Three Houses and Safety House Tools

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is required

Designed to help bring the voice of children and young people into child protection and social services work, the Three Houses information tool and the Safety House tool have had international success and are used worldwide. The Three Houses is an effective tool designed to involve children and young people in the child welfare planning and assessment process. The Safety House is a tool that brings the child’s voice into the process of safety planning. Social workers can use the Safety House tool to help elicit the child’s views on what specifically needs to be happening in their families to ensure that they are kept safe.

By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Explain the key thinking, theory and questions that support the tools
  • Apply the tools for children and young people
  • Apply the tools for adults by looking at values and beliefs linked to parenting
  • Describe how the tools contribute to worker assessment and planning
  • Identify factors that contribute to "danger and harm"
  • Identify factors that support people and build safety
  • Describe best-practice principles when talking with children

This hands-on, skills-based class will offer participants advanced training in the use of the Three Houses and the Safety House tools.


RED Teams

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is required prior to attending this training.

RED (Review, Evaluate and Direct) team is a group decision-making strategy to respond proportionally to allegations of maltreatment within a differential response system. It is informed by a consultation and information sharing framework that includes harm/danger, risk statements, complicating factors, safety, strengths/protective factors, the purpose/focus of consultation and, ultimately, next steps. The members of the RED team are charged with reviewing, evaluating and directing (RED) all cases that have been accepted through intake screening.

After participating in this training, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the strong benefits to maintaining a county RED team
  • Understand the shift from a single social worker or supervisor making a decision to the whole agency
  • Increase critical decision making skills during the intake process
  • Understand the implementation process for RED teams
  • Begin implementation of RED teams in their jurisdiction

The RED team provides both structure and process in review of alleged reports of child maltreatment, evaluation of the available information, and direction regarding the agency response.  

Mapping for Safety Using the Consultation and Information Sharing Framework

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is required prior to attending this training.

This one day training offers participants an opportunity to practice and improve their skills in Safety Mapping with families. Throughout the workshop, participants will:

  • Learn skills on orientating families to the Safety Mapping process and purpose;
  • Practice utilizing the three questions and solution focused questions in a way that results in a balanced assessment;
  • Learn facilitation skills that enhance partnership and collaboration with families and their safety networks;
  • Practice creating danger statements that provide clarity to everyone involved about the danger that needs to be avoided in the future;
  • Learn to create safety goals that clearly define what the family will be doing differently for the child to be safe in the future;
  • Look at ways of developing action steps that get the family from the danger statement to the safety goal;
  • Utilize Structured Decision Making (SDM) tools to ensure that the right questions are asked and that consistent thresholds are being held at critical decision making points in the work.

After attending this training, successful participants will be able to confidently utilize the Safety Mapping process with families in the field. Further, participants will understand how safety mapping is not a form or a single event, but rather a facilitated conversation and process that happens throughout the life of a case.


Safety Planning

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is required prior to attending this training.

This hands-on workshop will engage participants in both a dialogue about and allow for practice in creating meaningful and comprehensive safety plans which are rigorous, on the ground and sustainable. Safety plans are detailed plans of action made in response to specifically identified dangers, both behavioral and action driven. This includes immediate safety plans, ongoing safety plans and after-care safety plans with families and their support networks.

After attending this training, successful participants will be able to:

  • Understand how to build relationships with families to promote the development of meaningful safety plans
  • Integrate the use of SDM into the creation of safety plans
  • Create concrete and meaningful harm and danger statements
  • Build safety plans that are collaborative, rigorous and action driven
  • Create consensus on safety plans with families and children
  • Know when to create an immediate, ongoing or after-care safety plan

This course is specifically geared toward child welfare direct service staff, supervisors and family meeting facilitators. Participants will gain in-depth knowledge and skills in the creation of safety plans that are rigorous and collaborative.


Additional SOP Courses

Family Meeting Facilitation: Part I

This is a two-day experiential training for facilitators of Safety Organized Family Team Meetings (FTM) in child welfare agencies. The purpose of Family Team Meetings (FTM) of any type is to build agreements between the Department, families, providers and other essential team members. It is largely the responsibility of meeting facilitators to bring a disparate group of people into FTMs and build critical agreements and to make important decisions.

As a result of attending this training, successful participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of the Interaction Method of facilitation to create shared responsibility for family meeting success
  • Increase attitudes about the role they can play as change agents through a facilitated process
  • Enhance their confidence in dealing with challenging group situations
  • Learn how to leverage diverse opinions and styles
  • Identify specific tools for building understanding and agreement
  • Understand the use and importance of safety mapping
  • Apply solution focused inquiry to future family meetings

This workshop will provide participants with a solid foundation of theory and facilitation skills for immediate use in helping groups solve problems and build agreement to enhance the safety of children in a way that engages families.

Note: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is recommended, but not required, prior to attending this training.


Family Team Meeting Facilitation: Part II

Prerequisites: Completion Family Meeting Facilitation: Part I is required.

This training serves as a one-day follow-up session for participants who previously attended the two-day Family Meeting Facilitation (Part I) training. In Part I, participants examined research-based skills and knowledge about family meetings, and worked to enhance and develop skills in facilitation of family meetings with an emphasis on the use of Safety Organized Practice (SOP) tools and techniques.

As a result of attending part II of this training, successful participants will:

  • Deepen their practice in using SOP in Family Meetings through focused skill-building and collaborative learning
  • Build upon the belief that child welfare professionals can facilitate change with staff and families by paying attention to both content and process in meetings.
  • Enhance skills to use collaborative problem solving and to assist parties in reaching shared understanding and agreement for strong safety plan development.
  • Further enhance confidence in dealing with conflicts that arise while using the SOP framework.

At the conclusion of this training, participants will collaboratively plan next steps for continued skill building in the field.  


Group Supervision

Prerequisite: Completion of the SOP Foundational training is required

Group supervision is an essential tool supervisors can use to enhance the implementation and practice of safety organized practice (SOP), primarily that of critical decision making.

After attending this training, participants will be able to:

  • Utilize the model of group supervision to positively influence working relationships with children, youth and families
  • Increase their use of clinical supervision in order to provide social workers with significant opportunities to grow their practice
  • Employ critical thinking skills while weaving in the principles of SOP

This training will explore the process of group supervision within a child welfare context and provide a framework for organizing the work of group supervision.

Note: Completion of the SOP Foundational Institute is recommended, but not required, prior to attending this training.


Helping People Change: The Art of Asking Questions

This one-day workshop provides participants an opportunity to practice and refine their skills in receiving necessary information from clients for case/safety planning.

After attending this training, participants will have enhanced ability to:

  • Skillfully empower the client to direct their own change process while in the child welfare system
  • Ask better/more skillful questions directed at engaging clients in case planning
  • Frame questions so that clients are not put on the defense
  • Appropriately honor clients' success and strengths to promote further success

Participants should have experience in Safety Organized Practice, motivational interviewing and/or solution-focused therapy prior to attending this workshop.

Visitation: Keys to Permanencny

This class is designed to support advanced SOP practitioners who would like to learn practical and tangible ways to incorporate the principles within SOP into daily visitation work with families. This visitation framework acknowledges past and current trauma for both parents and children, the worries that families may have about visitation, and the need to create the most effective visitation plan possible in a short time frame. When caregivers, birth parents, and those responsible for supervising visitation can work together to support visitation, both child safety the parent's support network will be developed and sustained over time.

Return to top