New state-of-the-art training facility opens for case workers, human services professionals


RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Working in childcare or with families in crisis can be tough. But there’s a new training facility striving to keep these professionals loving their jobs and staying put.

NEWS10 ABC took a tour of the new Human Services Training Center in Rensselaer. Many Capital Region residents will recognize its location on Columbia Turnpike more for its previous life as a Kmart.

But now the 97,000 square foot building is expected to be better known as a state-of-the-art facility training human services professionals statewide.

Beth McCarthy, the Director of the Office of Children and Family Services Bureau of Training and Development, gave a tour of the new building showing off one of its most important features – a wing with several simulation rooms.

There’s a realistic courtroom where child welfare workers learn what to expect when testifying in family court. There’s a small apartment for case workers to spot violations as well as assess positive things like a child’s drawings on the refrigerator and family photos. There’s also two simulated child care centers for training inspectors as well as a juvenile facility for staff to learn how to positively interact with incarcerated youth.

McCarthy says the main hope is to maintain retention rates with staff.

“Help people learn those skills and build on those skills that they have. To be able to handle those situations, so they will stick with it,” she said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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