Direct Care Staff Training

Whether you are just starting a group home or you have had your home for 10 years, everyone should know that your direct care staff’s interaction with the clients will make or break your agency reputation! Without the proper training, your staff will struggle to deal with the unmanageable behavior of clients in group care rather you care for youth or adults with disabilities.

As a veteran group home owner myself, I was tired of web-based annual development training year after year, but that was all that could be found outside of CPR training. Face–to-Face training seemed to be obsolete.

As a group care Manager/Director, aren’t you tired of the same web based training year after year with mediocre results?

For new providers, do you want to start off with a great reputation from the beginning with certified direct care staff?

I am now offering a nationally used and recognized certification program for all direct care staff in a group home setting. This curriculum is recognized by the Child Welfare League of America, which is the national organization for the foster care system.

This “Direct Care Staff” training is for any staff that works directly with clients. This training is for direct care staff that works with children or adults in a congregate living environment or community support service environment. The training focuses on “staff behavior” rather than “clients behavior”. Below is a detailed description of the training:

Direct Care Staff Training

Provides strategies of preventing and defusing crisis situations, methods of intervening using a non‐physical approach, and an examination of staff behavior and its effect on the individuals served. Applying the concepts of positive behavioral interventions and support and trauma‐informed care, the program presents behavioral guidelines for positive interactions, antecedent interventions, de‐escalation techniques, relaxation strategies, and problem-solving skills for crisis prevention. Each participate will receive a Certificate of Completion to place in their personnel file demonstrating that they are certified direct care staff professionals when they pass the certification exam with an 80% score.

Learning Objectives:

A. Participants will be able to identify the behavioral, environmental, and programmatic factors that impact staff effectiveness and promote positive interactions.

B. Participants will be able to utilize antecedent strategies and observation skills for the prevention of crisis.

C. Participants will be able to demonstrate the use of appropriate and effective de-escalation techniques.

D. Participants will be able to demonstrate a 5-step problem-solving process for crisis prevention.

E. Participants will be able to define key terms associated with trauma, identify the prevalence and impact of trauma, and describe ways to put the principles of a trauma‐informed approach into practice.

Core Learning Activities:

  • Analysis of Staff Behaviors
  • Behavioral Guidelines for Positive Interaction
  • Preventing Crisis with Antecedent Management
  • De‐Escalation Techniques
  • Review and application of your program operating policies and procedures
  • Review and applicatiion of state regulations for your program

Supplemental Learning Activities:

  • Problem-Solving Skills for Crisis Prevention
  • Informed About Trauma: An Overview of Trauma and Trauma‐Informed Care

This strengths based curriculum includes a strong youth development philosophy and current best practice components that incorporate work in diversity and independent living/life skills. Along with this training you will receive best practice tips that worked in my own group home.

Why Certification?

Haven's Open Arms Direct Care Staff Training

Onsite Training Haven’s Open Arms

According to the University of Oklahoma, National Resource Center’s research, the influence of child care staff on the children and youth in their care cannot be overestimated. When the decision is made for children and youth to be placed in a residential center, it means their needs cannot be met by traditional family settings and relationships. The success of the placement depends largely on workers’ skills and consistent nurturing and the helping relationships that are developed.

Many will be involved in relationship building with the children and youth, teachers, social workers, psychologists, and other therapists. But it is the child care worker who has the greatest amount of interaction and, therefore, potentially the greatest impact.

Certification will improve the quality of residential group care for children and youth. It offers administrators a means of educating workers in a consistent philosophy of child care. And, it strengthens their workers skills and knowledge through a standardized training program.

Why should you be certified?

Certification provides recognizable professional status.

It clearly denotes the skills you have learned, and it is a commonly understood measure of your knowledge and achievement. The certification process can provide confidence in your ability for you and the people with whom you work. More important, it will benefit the children and youth in your care.

Why should your staff be certified?

A certified staff provides evidence of the value you place on the role of the direct care worker in service delivery. It means your staff will maintain a common knowledge base and residential care philosophy with consistently high values and practices. Certification also means recognizable proficiency to placement organizations, licensing and accrediting agencies, funding sources, and the community at large.


This is a 25 hour onsite training at your facility to be completed after your policies and procedures pass the licensing process. The state requires all administrators and direct care staff to have initial orientation and training (from 25-40 hours) prior to opening your home. I train you on your state regulations, your policies, procedures, and forms, staff effectiveness and behavior/crisis intervention for your residents, which is all required by state licensing. This training satisfies the majority of initial training requirements (except First Aide/CPR and Medication Administration). The curriculum is listed below:

Day 1

  1. Personnel policies
  2. State Administrative Codes
  3. Operating Procedures Manual
    1. Admission Procedures
    2. Admission Packet
    3. Service Plans, Reviews, Monitoring
    4. Safety Plans/Normalcy Plans
    5. Discharge Planning
    6. Emergency Procedures

Total Hours

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5

Day 2

  1. Staff Effectiveness Training
    1. Behavior Management
      1. Analysis of Staff Behavior
      2. Behavioral Guidelines for Positive Interaction
      3. Safe and Positive Approaches for preventing and responding to crisis
      4. De-escalation techniques without touch
  2. Incident Reporting
  3. Grievance Procedures
  4. Mandated Abuse Reporting

Total Hours

  • 5
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1

Day 3

  1. Independent Living Program
  2. Floor training
    1. Filing, file checks, progress notes
  3. Owner/Director Administrative tasks
  4. Annual Inspections/ Corrective Action Plan

Total Hours

  • 1
  • 4
  • 3