by Bryant Erickson
The territorial social services department is introducing a Caseworker Certification Program this year that will ensure a baseline of knowledge and skills for social service workers throughout the Central Territory.
The Salvation Army is well known for its capacity to respond to the basic material assistance needs of individuals and families with compassion and efficiency. Along with seasonal and disaster services, these are primarily accessible through corps and service extension units serving every zip code across the Midwest. Additionally, programs have been developed to respond to specific, unmet community needs such as homelessness, chemical dependency, affordable childcare and the needs of veterans, older adults and victims of human trafficking.
With such great need and a broad range of programs, it is critical for officers, employees and volunteers on the frontlines to have the knowledge and tools to provide services in a manner that emulates best social work practice and which are aligned with Salvation Army mission, values and ethics. The new certification program has been developed to help them be successful.
“The Caseworker Certification Program will demonstrate that we care about our employees’ functioning and their job satisfaction, as well as help us achieve better consumer and organizational outcomes,” said Gary Busiek, Midland divisional social services director.
The program’s curriculum is web-based, engaging its learners through a variety of media formats. Its nine modules include an overview of Salvation Army history, mission and key policies, case management skills, social work concepts, cultural competency, special populations and personal development. Each module consists of materials to be read, lectures and a quiz.
Presenters from academia, as well as officers and employees with expertise, were thoughtfully sought. For instance, noted Salvation Army academics Dr. Roger Green (Order of the Founder recipient) and Dr. James Read enthusiastically developed content for the Overview of The Salvation Army and Cultural Competency modules, respectively.
The Caseworker Certification Program is focused on supporting new social services workers but also reinforces other territorial initiatives, such as Pathway of Hope and further engages personnel in the use of the 2nd edition of Faith in Action: Guiding Principles of The Salvation Army Social Services Ministries released in 2016.