Professional Development is an essential component of work life. It provides opportunities to learn and deepen our knowledge and skills in our role and it also provides opportunities for connecting with peers and learning from their experience. According to a recent report, Professional Development Supports for Home Visitors and Supervisors Strengthening the Home Visiting Workforce OPRE Report #2021-01 by Rebecca Peters Sarah Benatar Heather Sandstrom from January 2021, “Preservice preparation and in-service professional development are both critical to ensuring home visitors have the tools and knowledge they need to provide high-quality services to their clients. They also help to promote model fidelity—how closely home visitors are delivering services as intended. When model fidelity is high, families are more likely to experience the benefits of home visiting. Although home visiting programs with different target populations and aims might require different approaches to training, many agree that all home visitors should have a common baseline of knowledge and skills, no matter which model they deliver.” The report also acknowledges “Continuous learning opportunities for home visitors and supervisors can help them strengthen their professional skills and f eel valued by their employers(pg. 7)” This holds true for related professions in which there are similar knowledge and skills needed in working with families.
Our Course Descriptions page has detailed information on the content of the individual trainings we offer to a variety of professionals. To learn about specific dates and times of training opportunities for professionals, please visit our PDS Online System or view the Home Visiting Training Calendar.
To further support transfer of learning and implementation of new skills, several of our training events have additional supports connected to them. These provide opportunities that are either integrated into the class structure or are available after a class has been completed to help sustain new knowledge and skill development. Research has shown that these kinds of supplemental tools for learning are critical for seeing a change in practice. These include the following
Communities of Practice – Wikipedia defines a Community of Practice as a group of people who “share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”. We offer several different Communities that are developed to further learning around the FAN framework, ASQ implementation, implementation of TSBIRT, the role of supervisor/ program leader, and for the role of professionals in home visiting.
Coaching calls – Touchpoints, FAN, Lemonade for Life, Home Visitation Foundations- Participants of the training have calls or meetings to discuss implementation of content/ skills from the training and how they are being applied in everyday practice. Facilitators provide additional support for challenges and a space to deepen knowledge through peer learning and deeper discussion of application of concepts. These are built in to the structure of the class and are a part of completion of the training.
Use of supporting resources- through our website (Resources/ training implementation tab), professionals will find additional materials and ways to support implementation for specific trainings. In addition, many of our offerings provide a Padlet Web Site to training participants so that they may revisit resources and content from the training after completion of the course. To further knowledge in a variety of areas, our ‘toolkit’ also houses a variety of resources and information to enhance and go beyond the content presented in our foundational training.
What training do I need?
Developing a training plan with discussion with your supervisor is important to ensure optimal impact and implementation of new knowledge and skills. It is important to consider the time needed to complete in-person and blended learning opportunities as well as to practice new skills. This should be balanced with and program needs and the needs of the learner and how they process new information and implement new practices. It is important to space training opportunities to allow you to process information and implement content learned.
A training plan is often developed based on one these additional factors:
- Program/Agency requirements
- Assessment/ screening tool requirements
- Topics of interest
- Areas for needed development
- Professional competencies
Core Competencies for Home Visitors and Early Childhood Family Support Professionals
Competencies for a profession can also help guide professional development. The competencies identify knowledge and skills that are needed for certain professionals/ roles and can be a map used to help a professional explore their areas of growth. Home Visitors and other Early Childhood Family Support professionals have a variety of professional competencies to utilize for this purpose. Below are a couple widely used competencies in Wisconsin. Additional profession specific competencies also exist. What competencies do home visitors need to work with families with young children? Click on any of the following links to learn about the skills Family Support Professionals use in their roles.
- Infant Mental Health Competencies Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health
- Early Collaborating Partners Wisconsin Core Competencies for Professionals Working with Young Children & Their Families. (English) (Spanish)
- Wisconsin Core Competencies for Family Support Professionals. Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Board.
Many professionals will come to this work with varied backgrounds and skills as indicated through our 2022 needs assessment. What we know is that one size does not always fit all and that there are many different experience levels within the professional workforce. For that reason, we provide several tiers of training to meet the needs of different learning styles and professionals at various stages of their career. More detailed information can be found in our course descriptions.