Perspectives of Merced County social work mentors

The purpose of this study was to explore social worker mentors’ perspectives regarding the effectiveness of the current child welfare training unit in Merced County. It explored the perceptions social work mentors have regarding the recently implemented curriculum and transfer of learning (TOL) tools/assignments for newly hired social workers. Mentors were asked about differences between those who were Title IV-E stipend recipients and those who were not. Prior to this study, there was no known research on the Merced County training program with the recently implemented curriculum or any information on the mentor’s perspectives of the effectiveness of the training program. This qualitative and quantitative study utilized an electronic survey distributed through Qualtrics survey software. A total of 11 participants completed the survey. A major finding was that upon completion of the current training unit the trainee’s, overall, had “good” knowledge of Child Welfare Services (CWS), specifically in the emergency response unit (ER). The second finding suggested that the ER checklist and TOL tools utilized have been effective. Another major finding was the trainees’ who were Title IV-E stipend graduates appeared more knowledgeable in CWS. Respondents believed the mentorship component is the most effective component of the training program. It is important that programs are continually evaluated to ensure that Tthey are accomplishing what they intend to and making improvements as needed. It is recommended that further research be routinely conducted to evaluate the training program within Merced County Human Services Agency, CWS department.