Supervising Safety

Decisions regarding child safety are, arguably, the most critical decisions made within public human service agencies. State standards articulate parameters for these decisions and definitions that direct work but cannot address the complexity of applying them to the wide range of family situations workers encounter as soon as they leave the office. Depth of conceptual understanding and consistency of application, as well as worker security and confidence in decision making, depend on the supervisor. In recognition of this, the Department of Children and Families and the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System offer Supervising Safety.

What is Supervising Safety?

Supervising Safety is an in-depth training program designed specifically for supervisors. It addresses the unique challenge of staff supervision: how can I guide the worker, who has direct contact with the family and responsibility for information gathering, through the analytic process that results in solid decisions that protect the child, family, worker, supervisor and agency?

For supervisors, participation in Supervising Safety provides an opportunity to focus on safety assessment and planning on a deeper level which results in the ability to address this area of practice with greater expertise and confidence. By the end of training, supervisors have enhanced expertise in applying Wisconsin’s Safety Intervention Model themselves, tools for supervising practice, and a more in-depth understanding of the strengths and needs of agency practice.

For the agency, safety intervention is an area in which agency decision making is frequently subject to scrutiny and second guessing. Participation in Supervising Safety enhances supervisory expertise, provides an in-house consultant on decision making, and demonstrates agency commitment to the state of the art in safety intervention.

Program Description

The Supervising Safety program consists of three modules:

  • Module 1: Present Danger and Protective Planning
  • Module 2: Assessing Impending Danger
  • Module 3: Safety Planning

Supervising Safety is a blended learning program that utilizes small seminars and distance learning supported by materials downloaded from the Supervising Safety website. Distance work includes:

  • Readings focused on safety concepts and practice
  • Case application of safety decision making
  • Review of workers’ case work
  • Tools for review of agency work
  • Individual feedback and coaching by phone with a trainer

Distance learning weeks require a commitment of 4 hours of the supervisor’s time.

At each step of safety intervention, participants will:

  • Explore the concepts of safety and best practice in safety decision making in greater depth
  • Enhance their own skills in safety decision making and intervention
  • Learn new ways to foster those skills in staff
  • Utilize tools to examine agency practice

Supervising Safety has a demonstrated record of supporting Wisconsin’s supervisors in elevating agency practice. The most frequent feedback from supervisors is: “I am more comfortable and confident in safety decision making”.