Winter, 2014
Attaining Wellness through Self-Care
Kristin Gardner, Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services
Stress. It's one of those words that by just saying it, or hearing it, or reading it, creates...well, stress. We know what the word means but may not realize all the ways it can impact us. We just know we don't like stress and want to limit it in our lives. The early research on stress focused solely on its physical effects. Since then researchers have discovered that stress affects us in our entirety, our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves.
What does "stress" look like?
As a result of our jobs as child welfare supervisors, we are prone to things such as compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress (STS) (Figley, 1995). Compassion fatigue or STS occurs when we're exposed to client suffering and traumatizing events. This can lead to emotional numbing, cynicism, depression, shame, rage, fear, poor self-esteem, and intrusive thoughts. Over time chronic stress can result in muscle atrophy, diabetes, heart attacks, and skin-related afflictions such as psoriasis (Cox & Steiner, 2013). Another effect of stress is burnout, defined as the process of gradually increasing emotional exhaustion, a negative attitude towards clients, and a reduced commitment to the profession. It is rooted in an organizational environment that is characterized by high work demands, low personal rewards, and minimum support" (Cox & Steiner, 2013).

Stress doesn't just impact the individual. It has a ripple effect. If you are physically ill, mentally depressed, or burnt out, there won't be much left for your partner, children, or family. Stress also negatively impacts employers. The World Health Organization estimates that stress costs American businesses $300 billion dollars a year (Martin, 2012).


What can you do to protect yourself from compassion fatigue, STS, and burnout?
While the picture of stress and its devastating consequences may seem bleak, there are ways to combat and overcome this harmful enemy. Through self-care and sustainable wellness practices you can reduce your stress levels and learn how to positively manage the stress that remains. "In a social service or social change environment, self-care is about learning to love, accept, and nurture oneself as a precursor to taking care of others" (Cox & Steiner, 2013). Even our bodies understand the importance of this because our heart first pumps blood to itself then to everything else. Nurture yourself and feed your own soul then you will be able to more effectively and consistently provide that for others.

One of the best approaches to self-care is the proactive coping approach. By building a reserve of resources and anticipating difficulties and challenges, you are able to utilize your resources. This becomes more effective as you evaluate the process to cultivate additional resources.


Participate in a Distance Learning Opportunity Just For Supervisors!


Workshop: Wellness for Supervisors


Child welfare supervisors experience a great deal of stress just due to the nature of the job itself. Being effective means meeting expectations of the agency, the community and the supervisees, all the while making sure clients are receiving quality services. Overseeing large caseloads, administrative pressures, teaching skills and making critical decisions can all add to the stress. All of this means it is imperative that supervisors find ways to maintain wellness through healthy stress management techniques. The goal for this workshop is supervisor wellness and enabling supervisors to employ strategies for maintaining wellness.


put this on your calendarTrainer: Karen is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a Master's degree in Social Work. She has experience as a supervisor in a Children's Services agency where she supervised 14 child care workers. She is also a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist II. Karen has provided supervision training for over five years and has also provided Stress and Wellness trainings for hundreds of social service workers over the past 25 years.
We are offering two sessions of this workshop.
December 9, 2014 from 12:00pm - 1:30pm; or
December 12, 2014 from 9:00am - 10:30am
Space is limited so register in E-Track today! Use the learning code 537-8-DL3.
Ohio's Title IV-B Child and Family Services Plan and
 What it Means for Supervisors
The October 1st start of the 2015 Federal Fiscal Year also marks the beginning of another important event: implementation of Ohio's Title IV-B Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP).
What does this mean for you? Click here to find out!
PCSAO Supervisor Pre-Conference Wrap Up
Jeff Schafer, Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Families
Traci Foley & Jeff Schafer
In case you didn't attend the PCSAO Supervisor Pre-Conference let me begin by saying "YOU MISSED OUT!" Over the course of nine months, the Public Children's Association of Ohio (PCSAO) and the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program's Supervisor Advisory Team developed a day that was dynamic, innovative, and, most importantly, just for supervisors. Besides the fact I was able to meet many supervisors from around Ohio, there were several great workshops.
Planning has already begun for the 2015 PCSAO Supervisor Pre-Conference. If you ideas on training topics please send them to Laura Hughes.
The SACWIS Spotlight
 New ROM Release Coming Soon!
Jennifer Watson, Office of Families and Children


The new ROM release is a major expansion of the ROM Reports Core Model and we are excited to realize the benefits the release brings to Ohio's children services agencies. Users will be able to utilize new reports that capture useful data related to the in-home population of children, state involvement (an open case), and service requirements.


In addition to the new reports, ROM users will notice that some previous report titles are changed. The new report titles reflect enhancements and clarity to the previous existing data. Please call or email the SACWIS Help Desk if you have any questions about ROM.


Click here to view a list of the new ROM reports.

Superstar Supervisor!
Congratulations Gayle Hahn, Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services Supervisor!

Nominated by: Brian Wear, East Central Ohio Regional Training Center


Gayle is a Supervisor at Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services. She has worked in Child Welfare for over 27 years, and is recognized for her best practice services. We had a chance to talk to Gayle and ask what best practices she promotes and what advice she could pass on to other supervisors regarding developing confident and competent staff. 


First, to promote consistent quality practice Gayle has created many tools, guides, manuals, articles, and helpful practice hints to guide the caseworkers she supervises.  An excellent example is the guide she created to help caseworkers take foster/adoptive parent inquiry calls. The guide helps caseworkers know what questions to ask and how to respond to tough questions. Guides like these give caseworkers resources for their daily tasks and help promote consistent service delivery. 


Second, Gayle has also worked hard to promote best practice through both supervision and policy creation. Take sibling continuity as an example. Gayle not only works hard with her staff to keep siblings together every day, she has done the extra work necessary to establish the best practice standard within agency policy. Gayle also speaks passionately of finding the right match for every child who needs placement. She isn't satisfied with just looking for an open bed. She and her staff continue searching until they have found the best possible match for each child. As a result, over 80% of children adopted in her county are adopted by the people they were initially placed with, which means fewer moves for children. 


It's this extra effort and lessons learned over 27 years in the field that make Gayle a clear....Supervisor Superstar!

Do you have someone you want to nominate as a "Superstar Supervisor"? Email and tell us about them!
Peer to Peer Council Overview - We're All in This Together!
The Peer to Peer Council consists of Child Welfare professionals from across the state of Ohio. The group began more than three years ago with twelve counties who were interested in sharing practice experiences and written policies and procedures, as well as discussing common issues and challenges. Areas of support include:


Continuous Quality Improvement Activities

  • Developing and Implementing a Case Record Review Process (what to evaluate and what to do with the results)
  • Customer/Consumer Satisfaction (how to evaluate and what to do with the results)
  • Evaluating Alignment with Best Practice    
  • Developing and Implementing Internal Procedures/Standards of Practice
  • Implementing Organizational/Practice Changes

Staff Development

  • Leadership
  • Clinical
  • Organization/Time Management    

Community Resource Development

  • What's Missing and How Do We Get It
  • Establishing a Community Advisory Network

Currently twenty-three counties participate on the Council. Council members determine the agenda for the phone conferences and are able to gather input on a variety of issues from other members during conferences, as well as through an e-mail listserv. This group is a vehicle for finding creative solutions, defining new practice innovations, and making our systems excellent! If you are interested in becoming a member of the Peer to Peer Council please email Trista Piccola

OCWTP Resources for Supervisors
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