Protective services caseworkers' understanding of the DSM: Improving risk assessment through professional development training

J.C. Davidson, Joanne Levine

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Child protective service workers often must consult mental health professionals during the risk assessment process in order to make appropriate decisions about placement and treatment. However, most caseworkers employed in the protective service system do not have the background to understand mental health evaluation reports. This article proposes that workers need training about psychiatric diagnoses and the use of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM). The discussion reviews literature about the education of social workers and describes the program developed by the Protective Services Training Institute of Texas to inform child and adult protection professionals about the organization and use of the DSM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalProfessional Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • workforce
  • mental health
  • educational requirements
  • child protective services
  • risk assessment
  • psychiatric diagnoses
  • child welfare workers
  • child welfare training
  • professional training
  • texas
  • program models
  • competency based training

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