Civil Rights for Child Welfare Professionals

Recipients of federal funds are required to provide training on federal civil rights requirements to their agency staff as well as any agency or person with whom they contract. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) requires that service provider staff complete a civil rights course in their first year of employment and a refresher training every three years. This means that county and tribal human/social service departments are required to provide civil rights training to their staff and that child protective services, foster care, and youth justice professionals are required to complete training on civil rights to meet U.S. DHHS requirements.

The federal civil rights training requirement can be fulfilled by having staff complete a state-sponsored course or by agencies providing their own local training. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) partnered with the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System (WCWPDS) to develop this web-based state-sponsored course. Human/social service departments can choose to have their child welfare staff complete this course or they can continue providing their own local training to their child welfare staff to meet the federal requirements.

Which Online Training Module Should I Complete?

Because this is a training that is required to be completed regularly by child welfare professionals and service providers, an annual version of this training will be posted yearly. This will allow those who need to complete the training every three years the ability to select the current year’s version to complete and for this to be recorded on their PDS Online transcript should the individual or agency ever need to provide compliance documentation.

For example, for individuals who began employment in 2022, they would complete the 2022 version of the training, entitled “Civil Rights for Child Welfare Professionals 2022”. They would next complete the 2025 version of the training (which will be entitled “Civil Rights for Child Welfare Professionals 2025”) to meet the “every three years thereafter” requirements. By February 1 of each year, that year’s version will be posted on this webpage and in PDS Online.

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Accessing the Module in PDS Online

To complete the online course in PDS Online, log into your PDS Online account using the links below to access the training.

I do not have a PDS Online Account

If you do not have a PDS Online account and do not need one, complete the course by accessing the module on this page.

The Civil Rights for Child Welfare Professionals course provides a brief overview of federal civil rights laws as they pertain to program delivery and the laws that govern civil rights protections using daily practice examples that child protective services, foster care, and youth justice professionals are likely to encounter. In addition, the complaint process and the rights of service recipients to make complaints at the agency, state, and federal levels are explained.

This training is appropriate for:

  • County child protective services, foster care, and youth justice professionals
  • Tribal child protective services, foster care, and youth justice professionals
  • Agency staff whom county and tribal agencies contract with for the provision of child welfare services