After years of problems and scandals the Florida Department of Children and Families is changing the way it runs and how it trains its workers. The problem has been well documented. A legislative bill passed last year directs the department to redesign child welfare training, and they started Monday afternoon by seeking input from all over the state.
"Now that the environment has changed and we're contracting with multiple community based care providers we need a training system that is going to be responsive to their specific needs," says Amy Peloquin, DCF Director of Education & Training.
The reformation of DCF has led to a less centralized system. Twenty-two community based care organizations now do the work on a local level and they have ideas for reform.
"Would like to see changes that would allow more flexibility for community based providers across the state. By that we mean we would like to have more control over the content of the training that's delivered," says Amanda McGee.
DCF is looking to universities to deliver that training to the more than 1300 social workers that will be needed every year.
"The hope is that we're going to dramatically improve the quality of training that DCF workers get. Which is going to enhance their ability to provide services to kids and family and also reduce their turnover among DCF staff," Dr. Bruce Thyer says.
DCF hopes to reduce social worker turnover through better training and better pay. By the end of the year child welfare services will be handled by community providers in 65 of 67 Florida counties.