PCHAS University Keeps Staff Sharp

Oct 15, 2019 - In the News


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PCHAS University is not a place but a philosophy. After standard orientation about the agency’s policies and procedures, “freshman” employees undergo more specific training and receive credits for professional development. The University was founded according to the best practices of the Council on Accreditation, which has set high standards for human service organizations for more than 40 years.

Most of our employees – child care workers, mentors, therapists and case managers – work directly with clients. Their orientation includes adult and pediatric First Aid. As Training Specialist Courtney Counts explains, “Some of our services are residential, so it is especially important to educate employees on fire safety, CPR and using a portable defibrillator (AED).” 

The agency is responsible for a number of annual training hours to maintain its licensing and accreditation. Leslie Swindle and Justin Hentschel oversee staff training in Texas, while Courtney Counts and Garrett Coffman oversee it in Missouri. Their catalog of coursework includes understanding medications and signs of human trafficking as well as ethical standards such as client rights, HIPAA confidentiality, professional boundaries and cultural competence.

Pchas University Training Photo

                                             PCHAS staff learn about using weighted toys to address sensory 
                                             needs of children who have been traumatized.

Because the agency focuses on children and families who have survived abuse, neglect or abandonment, employees are trained in the Trauma-Informed Care approach and Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI) treatment. Both are evidence-based and compassionate.

“PCHAS has hundreds of full-time and part-time staff,” Counts says, “so we keep records on who has had each training and which employees are due for a refresher. What drives the program is our commitment to best practices in child wellness and behavioral health. Our goal is to provide staff with the skills, training and experience to best meet the needs of children and families.”

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