The 2018 Crown Communities awards
What is in this article?
- The 2018 Crown Communities awards
- Baltimore, Md.: Coding-focused after-school and city internship program
- Colorado Springs, Colo.: Storm drain art campaign
- Eastlake, Ohio: Special needs-oriented baseball field and playground
- Forest Hills, Pa.: Net-zero energy municipal complex
- Orange County, Calif.: Adult protective services simulation training
- Roanoke, Texas: New city hall and infrastructure as anchor for redeveloped downtown
Orange County, Calif.: Adult protective services simulation training
The County of Orange (Calif.) Social Services Agency (SSA)’s Adult Protective Services (APS) prevent or remedy neglect, abuse or exploitation of adults who cannot protect their own interests due to disability or age. Visiting a victim’s home is a key moment for APS social workers — they must gain consent to enter the home and gain the trust of the victim to begin addressing concerns of abuse, risk factors and safety.
The amount of time the social worker has to accomplish this is very slim, though. Hence, specialized training is crucial for social workers to conduct successful home visits.
APS staff recognized that child welfare in other California counties had begun exploring simulation trainings with their staff — bringing staff members into a facility that replicated home visits. APS Manager Stacey Lindberg successfully pitched the idea of an APS simulation training in the county. No funding was required beyond minimal ongoing costs.
APS staff came up with three real-world scenarios that they currently use as part of the training. They then approached professionals at the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department, which let APS use their permanent simulation training rooms, which emulate one bedroom and two living rooms. APS uses these training rooms twice per year at no cost, and it provides a much more realistic training experience than a traditional classroom would.
APS also contacted 10 retired SSA workers who agreed to serve as “actors” for the different simulations. For Lindberg, this proved to be a major key in making the simulation training function well — it reinvigorated retired APS staff while giving trainees access to the retirees’ vast experience with APS.
Participants get to train in the simulations as well as watch other social workers go through them. Following a given training, the trainers ask the observers what they noticed during the training. But they also ask the actors how they felt throughout the training.
The Orange County program is the first APS simulation training program in California. The first SSA simulation training occurred in October 2017. Of the 50 current APS social workers, 30 have undergone the simulation training. APS presented its curriculum to other counties during the National Association of Adult Protective Services Conference in August 2018.
“To go knock on the door of a stranger and have to talk about abuse and neglect is a very scary thing,” Lindberg says. “But these new staff are able to do this in a safe environment, in a protected environment, but also having seasoned staff with them doing this right alongside so that they can pick up tips.”