Monarch hires for values and trains for skills. We find it essential to hire staff who believe in person centered thinking/planning, respect for all people, regardless of disability, and value the ability to work effectively as part of a team.
In addition to the qualifications above, Monarch believes that in working with individuals with behavioral and developmental disorders, the therapeutic relationship between staff and individuals must be effective. At times, this effectiveness may be compromised if staff and individual have personality clashes. Therefore, for new hires, once screened, Monarch coordinates visits between applicants and those they potentially will work for, families (if appropriate and desired by the individual) and staff they may be working with to interview and/or observe a staff who is interviewing for a position, and express their views.
Should an individual choose a staff who then the individual does not like, i.e. due to personality conflicts, etc., the staff is moved, and the individual(s) chooses a new staff. This enables individuals to have a say in who is hired, and explains the agency philosophy of individual directed services. This experience also clarifies the expectations of the job for the potential candidate prior to employment. Individuals help determine the qualities necessary for staff positions. Individuals choose Direct Support staff and clinical staff. As the individuals are choosing from applicants who have been determined to meet all qualifications, the choice can be entirely the individuals. Support staff and senior management staff are chosen by their respective supervisor. Of course in our qualification assessments, all persons employed by the agency are subjected to drug screens, criminal history background checks (state, national where applicable and department of motor vehicles), reference checks, and child abuse and neglect screening (Healthcare Registry) as required by North Carolina statute and any other screening required by regulation.
A properly trained staff that demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities, is a core value at Monarch. Training is provided in a variety of forums; classroom, on-the-job, and on-line. All staff who support people with developmental disabilities are enrolled in the College of Direct supports, a nationally recognized program for contemporary best practices for Direct Support Professionals.
We ensure employees receive all required training prior to working with individuals, but provides an on the job mentoring program once staff begin working with the individuals who chose them. Monarch insists that all staff maintain the necessary credentialing as dictated by Federal, State and Local Management Entities. The Quality Management Department maintains a state of the art database to track the myriad of training required by the different departments, positions and services offered. Supervisors and staff are kept appraised of any upcoming training requirements that need renewal or additional training needed by a change in the services offered.
Monarch has developed a number of curriculums and identified a host of skilled trainers as a way to provide internal training. In some situations, we have been able to create online training that can be taken in any site. Typically online training is for those areas that are didactic in nature, i.e. bloodborne pathogens. We find that face to face training is needed for other curriculums such as our alternatives to restrictive interventions curriculum “Getting it right”. This curriculum is a two day course in which values, individual’s rights, abuse and neglect definitions, person centered thinking, and preventative strategies are taught in addition to the required pieces regarding restrictive interventions. Restrictive Interventions are seldom if ever used.
We develop curricula on site to address specific needs or concerns. Monarch staff are also offered opportunities to attend state and national training conferences and meetings. These trainings are offered to all staff, and are the key to ensuring that Monarch is continually updating based on new and emerging evidence based practices.
In addition to these training opportunities, we are participating in a three year-grant awarded by the NC Council on Disabilities. Through this grant, organizations and their staff have the ability to access The College of Direct Supports (CDS), a learning gateway for contemporary best practices for Direct Support Professionals. By incorporating web-based learning, backed by nationally recognized curricula, the CDS is designed to help support a profession of direct care. Some of the benefits of CDS include: assisting people who need support to lead self-directed lives and to participate fully in the community; training opportunities that deepen and enhance the staff’s roles as caregivers, teachers, mentor, counselors, community connectors and friends in the lives of the people we support; interactive in-depth learning experience; utilizes best practices content State of the art learning; the opportunity to apply learning in the real world; improves job skills and performance and incidental learning such as basic computer skills are enhanced; supports that meet individual’s needs; individuals experience more satisfaction; improved motivation for the job; improved skills and competencies for staff; improved creativity on the part of staff in planning for supports and finding better ways to do everyday tasks.
The agency is entering the second year of this grant and have plans to continue the relationship with CDS beyond the grant years. Over 200 of our direct support employees have taken these college level courses in the past year. We anticipate having 600 more graduates in year two. In addition, some of the CDS graduates have also applied to The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). NADSP offers the only opportunity nationally for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to earn a national credential as part of a nationally recognized career path. The College of Direct Support is accredited and approved by the NADSP as meeting its curriculum standards for DSPs to study and earn the credentials.