OHAN Traci JeanSan 9760Stability, safety, and well-being—these are just a few outcomes children in foster care should experience. Unfortunately, not all children in care will. A recent lawsuit exposed many flaws within the South Carolina foster care system, specifically problems with accepting and investigating reports of Out-of-Home Abuse and Neglect (OHAN). To assist the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) with these problems, the Center created a review process and a training that will develop and strengthen the skills of all OHAN staff.

The Center’s Quality Assurance (QA) team collaborated with SCDSS and federal court monitors to create a review instrument that would evaluate OHAN Intake reports. This instrument focused on the ability of OHAN staff to correctly identify which Intake reports should be accepted for investigation and which ones should be screened out. Both the federal court monitors and QA examined these reviews, passed the data along to OHAN, and guided OHAN on ways to change their practice. “The QA team has the ability, the knowledge, and the skill set to really make a difference and help OHAN reach their goals,” explains Traci Gilden, the Center’s QA and Special Projects Program Manager.

The QA reviews also revealed specific areas within OHAN that needed to be trained.  Using the data from these QA reviews, the Center’s Training and Instructional Design and Production teams worked closely with OHAN to develop a four-day, blended learning training. According to Instructional Designer Lisa Stuchell, “The QA reviews allowed us to create a training that concentrates on the needs of our client and that will equip OHAN staff with the information they need to be successful in the future.”

The OHAN Intake Training will directly impact children in foster care. “We owe it to these children—children who have already experienced abuse and neglect—to live in safe environments and to not be re-victimized. It’s our job to make sure all children in foster care are safe and protected,” explains Gilden. Through the Center’s evaluation of OHAN Intakes and the development of this training curriculum, OHAN staff will improve their Intake process and ensure children in foster care feel safe, protected, and cared for.