Why We Wrote a Handbook for Child Welfare Providers

While working as a case manager for youth in foster care, Monica realized that she had little idea how to provide information to youth to educate them about sex, sexuality, and their health. She saw a clear need after having very young adolescents ask for pregnancy tests, trying to explain a first period to a child who was terrified about what was happening with their body, and filling prescriptions for STIs. Monica looked for tools, guides, and trainings specific to talking with youth in foster care. She found nothing. Years later, Monica found herself attempting to turn her research into trainings in an attempt to help, but caregivers and professionals always asked for more – more ways to explain things, more tools, more education for themselves.

Meanwhile Karen has spent the last two decades educating youth and adults on human sexuality. One of her most recent projects has been creating the An Introduction to Sexuality Education series where she has co-authored handbooks for mental health practitioners and nursing professionals.

Together Karen and Monica wrote An Introduction to Sexuality Education: A Handbook for Child Welfare Providers to provide tangible resources for caregivers and professionals working with youth in the child welfare system. These children and youth are often left without sustained 1:1 guidance around sexuality and sexual health and without access to structured comprehensive sexuality education. For a particularly vulnerable population, with higher rates of LGBTQ+ identity, STI transmission, and unplanned pregnancies, this leaves youth in state care without critical, lifesaving information. Creating a handbook for providers, who have likely received little to no training on providing sexuality education, on how to create both 1:1 and group learning environments that are trauma informed, medically accurate, and honoring of identities and cultures, fills a critical need in the field.

On May 17th, 2021 UN|HUSHED and Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing are offering providers a free virtual introductory training, a free digital copy of the handbook, AND the first 100 attendees with a Texas address who register by May 10th will also receive a free copy of the handbook. Attendees will have opportunities to discuss personal biases as they relate to human sexuality, learn new things about sexuality, identify their role in providing information on sex and sexuality within the child welfare system, and have concrete information how to do so.

Registration is open now at: https://v3.unhushed.org/trainings/child-welfare-providers

TX residents are also eligible to receive 4 CEUs for Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. The Steve Hicks School of Social Work Office of Professional Development at the University of Texas at Austin grants Continuing Education Hours to the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing workshops, courses, and educational programs that meet the criteria established by Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners, Texas State Board of Professional Counselors, and Texas State Boards of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists. These educational hours may then be submitted by professionals to meet continuing education requirements for Social Work, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist license renewal.