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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Keeping Californians in Home, Out of Institutional Care

SDSU receives $8 million to develop a statewide training academy for social workers that will help keep elderly, blind and disabled Californians out of institutional care.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2016) — The Social Policy Institute in San Diego State University’s School of Social Work has been awarded a three-year, $8 million contract to develop a statewide training academy for social workers and other partners who will help elderly, blind and disabled Californians remain safely in their homes and communities and out of institutional care. This translates into increased quality of life for the vulnerable individuals served, and cost savings for California taxpayers.

The funding, which comes from the California Department of Social Services’ (CDSS) Adult Programs Division, will allow SDSU’s Social Policy Institute to develop a comprehensive training program for social workers who assess eligibility for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). Each year IHSS programs support more than 500,000 elderly, blind and disabled individuals who would otherwise be in institutional care.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Social Policy Institute to bring together the training expertise of the Academy for Professional Excellence and the resources of the Center on Aging to improve the wellbeing of those served by the IHSS program,” said Steve Hornberger, director of the Social Policy Institute.

The statewide IHSS Training Academy in partnership with the Academy for Professional Excellence will design and deliver competency-based training to increase the quality and outcomes of care for those served. It also provides stakeholder support, policy analysis, and research. The contract will allow the Social Policy Institute to:

  • Support the IHSS workforce through design and delivery of state-of-the art competency-based training on IHSS best practices
  • Collaborate with policy makers, providers and family members to ensure that California’s IHSS provides quality services and support
  • Evaluate training curriculum and continuously improve the content and methods for learning
  • Provide technical assistance, consultation and research to stakeholders across the state

“The IHSS Program makes a daily difference in the lives of those it serves. By providing support and assistance to remain safely in their homes and communities, those receiving care are afforded quality of life and the dignity of self-direction,” said Lori Clarke, the IHSS Training Academy director.

Through this training program social workers and other key partners will be trained to:

  • Uniformly assess and authorize IHSS program benefits to consumers
  • Promote choice and self-direction in daily life for IHSS consumers
  • Support those served in achieving the level of physical, mental and psychosocial well-being that is possible and desirable for each individual
  • Facilitate the highest quality of care and outcomes for those served
  • State  IHSS policies and procedures

The IHSS Training Academy at SDSU will work closely with the Academy for Professional Excellence, which holds the contract for Adult Protective Services training, and has strong working relationships with the counties and other IHSS partners. The Academy delivers competency-based, culturally appropriate training using a variety of modalities, including in-person trainings, online trainings, webinars, coaching sessions, simulation trainings, and mobile applications. The Academy has been serving the Southern California health and human services agencies for the past 20 years.

As part of the contract, faculty from SDSU’s Center on Aging, in consultation with the Social Policy Institute and IHSS, will conduct research that will be used to improve the quality of services for IHSS consumers, as well as improve effectiveness of the training program.

For more information on the Social Policy Institute, or to learn more about the IHSS grant, contact Steve Hornberger directly at shornberger@mail.sdsu.edu.

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