The Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (MNCWTA) is pleased to announce the availability of a new training opportunity that is designed to help reduce the number of children in child care institutions. In support of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA or Family First), training is now available to prepare clinicians and community members to become Qualified Individuals (QIs). QIs will determine whether or not a child’s/youth’s needs can be met within their family or family foster home with community services rather than being placed in a child care institution, known as a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP).

This new training was developed in collaboration with the policy expertise of the Child Safety and Permanency Division within the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), and is delivered by trainers from the MNCWTA. DHS and the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities have partnered to enhance child welfare training by working to train, develop, and support the skills, expertise, and well-being of Minnesota’s child welfare workforce while nurturing a commitment to equitable child welfare practice. Addressing the training needs of the child welfare workforce is one of several efforts being made to better support children and families served by the Minnesota child welfare system.

As a result of this two-day training experience, participants will be able to distinguish roles and responsibilities of the Qualified Individual; apply cultural responsiveness in the QRTP assessment process; partner with DHS Family and Permanency team members; explain the new requirement of an independent QRTP assessment; and apply the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment to determine the best way to support youth and families. QIs will have the opportunity to ensure that a child's community and cultural strengths are fully appreciated and integrated in placement decisions.

Qualified Individuals will have a tremendous amount of autonomy in how they approach their assessment process. QIs will not be affiliated with treatment facilities, so there will be no conflict of interest when making placement recommendations. Minnesota did receive a federal waiver for some county employees to be considered. The hope is that these decisions can have a positive lifelong impact on youth, families, and communities, and contribute toward reduction in disparity and over-representation.

To learn more about the FFPSA QI requirement, visit this DHS webpage and/or this helpful video on Understanding the Qualified Individual Program. If you have questions about the QI training or want to express your interest in participating, email

A number of FFPSA trainings have been recorded and are available on the MNCWTA website. Questions about MNCWTA or this announcement can be directed to