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Technical Assistance and Learning Support (TALS) Program

The Center’s Technical Assistance and Learning Support (TALS) Program refers to specialized learning support programming the Center’s training team members provided to all 100 counties in North Carolina as a specified training contract deliverable with NC Division of Social Services (NC DSS).

The TALS program was created to be a proactive and responsive format helping to identify and address emerging needs of social services, other county agencies, and their partners around issues impacting children, youth, and families of North Carolina.

TALS included a variety of technical assistance opportunities to engage NC DSS child welfare staff, their partners, and communities in active transfer of learning experiences. This program helped them to tailor and adjust what they had learned “from the classroom” to their responsibilities in the field with families.

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This program was an active component of the Center’s training contract with NC DSS between the years 2005 to 2018. The ‘by request’ service provided by this program allowed the FCP training team members to work one-on-one with county staff to identify their transfer of learning needs, create and develop unique learning experiences, and then deliver these experiences to the requesting county and agency members. Training team members often partnered with family/youth/community partners, university faculty/staff, and students to support the following forms of engagement with intended audiences: planning and developing the work with the requesting group; presenting material; collecting data; seeking feedback; preparing and posting commentary and resources; monitoring and responding to inquiries before, during, and after events; facilitating communication across partnering groups; and observing and giving feedback on practice and/or training. The technical assistance responses took multiple forms, were variable in length according to the topic and format, and were delivered in frequency according to levels identified in the contract related to NC DSS priority, community interest, and available center staffing.

Examples of the TALS formats utilized in this program:

  • In-person or online workshops
  • In-person or online facilitated discussion forums
  • Delivery of offered core training curricula where trainers could support intracounty and team dynamics with the learning material
  • Student seminars (at NC State and other universities/community colleges)
  • Practice coaching and feedback
  • Email/phone call assistance related to child and family team practices
  • Website and resource offerings
  • In-state conference presentations

Topics requested and supported through this programming over the years included:

  • Family connections
  • Equitable treatment of children of color
  • Domestic violence policy and practice
  • Responsible fatherhood
  • Educational success of youth in care
  • LGBTQ youth
  • Reaching for Excellence and Accountability in Practice (REAP)
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
    • Coaching for CQI
    • Using data for CQI
    • Supervision and CQI
  • Cross-system collaboration
  • Families and communities in child welfare decision making
  • Relative and non-relative resource parents
  • Tribal affiliations of American Indian children
  • Engaging fathers
  • Military-connected families
  • Foster youth leadership and positive development
  • Co-training approaches, including Heart to Heart for MAPP training
  • Fostering Perspectives (NC publication of information regarding foster/substitute care)