Update as of 03/02/23: The Training Academy has decided to delay implementation of the IDI Pilot for Cohort 106 as planned. This decision is based upon recent changes in staff capacity as well as complications due to timing and scheduling. We are still committed to incorporating the IDI assessment and development plan as an important part of our new worker training and are making plans to reschedule the IDI Pilot this year. We thank you for your partnership and patience.

In the coming months, many new workers will be introduced to an intercultural tool before and during their completion of Child Welfare Foundations Training (CWTA X100). The tool is called the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), which is a cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence that is used by thousands of individuals and organizations to build intercultural competence to achieve diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes. It includes questions that allow respondents to describe their experiences in terms of cross-cultural goals, challenges, and critical incidents they face and the ways they navigate those cultural differences (Minnesota Department of Health).

According to Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services, “The intersection of culture and child welfare may be particularly charged with emotion, due to the deep sentiment between child and caregiver, the implied questioning of one’s parenting ability inherent in a child welfare investigation, and the tendency to assume that our own cultural practices are best for children.” Professionals entering in the child welfare workforce today need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and self-awareness to successfully interact with colleagues, partners, families, children, and communities who are different from themselves. This means that learners will be asked to engage in open and honest conversations about implicit bias, disproportionality, and disparity, especially in how it exists in the child welfare system.

For learners, this will mean completing an assessment (approximately 1 hour) and participating in an individual feedback session (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes) prior to their first day of training. In total, workers will complete approximately 6 hours of IDI focused work. Learners who participate in this initial pilot will be asked to provide feedback on the content, learning experience, and the additional time commitment. This feedback will help us ensure that, once the new Child Welfare Foundations Training is launched later this year, learners will have had the opportunity to help shape the training to meet the needs of workers. For supervisors, this training will need to be assigned with enough time prior to the first classroom to ensure the assessment and feedback session are complete.

We believe in helping to develop child welfare worker competencies through the Minnesota Child Welfare Practice Framework, which includes guidance on cultural responsiveness for workers and for supervisors. To help prepare learners, we would encourage them to read this article on Difficult Conversations in Child Welfare Training. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has also created this resource to help discuss the significance of Cultural Competency.

We look forward to using this new training tool with learners, as we continue to work to improve outcomes for children and families. If you have questions about the IDI or any of our training efforts, please contact us anytime.