This resource provides access to the Northern California Training Academy's Core for Social Workers Module 9 training materials. To learn more about the Academy, please visit humanservices.ucdavis.edu/academy.
This curriculum examines the types of decisions child welfare workers are required to make, the factors that influence their decision-making patterns, and various approaches that could potentially improve decision making on both an individual and organizational level. To further explore the issues surrounding decision making, the curriculum focuses specifically on Structured Decision Making® (SDM®), a model that can be used to assist social workers in making accurate and consistent decisions about the levels of risk for maltreatment found in families, to provide guidance about service provision, and to assist with reunification and permanency planning. In 1999, the State of California decided to make SDM® a required tool for child welfare agencies statewide, and SDM® has since been implemented in several counties, including Los Angeles. To explore the implementation and effects of SDM®and its implications on child welfare decision making, the authors conducted a multi-level study in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. The study addressed three central questions: (a) what are the challenges related to implementing the full SDM® model in the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), (b) what impact does implementation of the full SDM® model have on child welfare service delivery, and (c) what impact does implementation of the full SDM® model have on child permanency outcomes? (254 pages) Kim, A. K., Brooks, D., Kim, H., & Nissly, J. (2008).