What Works for the Workforce: Leadership Competencies in Action

Design Teams & Learning Circles: Agency- & Unit-level Interventions for Improving Organizational Climate & Culture

Webinar held on November 28, 2012

Presenters share two innovative methods supported by the Western Workforce Project sites in Denver, CO and Casper, WY to tackle change while improving organizational culture and climate.  Design Teams consist of representatives at all levels of the agency who come together to design and implement action plans based upon information from comprehensive organizational health assessments. Learning Circles, led by supervisors, are composed of unit members who collaborate to pursue new ways of addressing common issues affecting their entire agency, their specific team, and their direct practice with children and families. This session highlights the development, implementation, and outcomes of these two important intervention strategies, and offers specific lessons learned, tips for other agencies, and the leadership skills and competencies necessary to sustain them over time. Presenters include:

  • Paul Fritzler, who has worked for the Wyoming Department of Family Services for 21 years, and has been the District Manager for Child Protection and Juvenile Services for the last five years. He has held a variety of positions, such as Child Protection Investigator, On-going (Family-based) Caseworker, Juvenile Probation Agent, Child Protection Supervisor, and Juvenile Probation Region Manager.
  • Peter Clarke, MSW, who has been with the Denver Department of Human Services since 1989. He has been a caseworker in Ongoing Child Protection, Adoption and Kinship Care, and is currently the Interstate Compact Coordinator for Denver County and Supervisor of both the Home Study Unit and the Foster Care Certification Unit. His Units were part of the initial round of Learning Circles in 2010.
  • Heather Powell, BA, who is a Lead Social Caseworker providing guidance to social caseworkers regarding case planning, case reviews, and permanency plans, and consultation on unusual, difficult, or complex cases. She has been with Denver Department of Human Services for 6 years, and has been facilitating Learning Circles for more than 2 years.
  • Linda Metsger, MA, who has been at the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver since 1997 and is Butler’s Director of Professional Development. She manages Butler’s child welfare training for the state of Colorado as well as the Western Workforce Project. Prior to working at Butler, Ms. Metsger worked in a public child welfare agency in Colorado as a youth services caseworker, supervisor in both youth services and child protection, and training supervisor.
  • Charmaine Brittain, MSW, PhD, who has worked extensively over the past two decades to improve organizational effectiveness and strengthen professional education for child welfare staff. As Senior Associate at the Butler Institute, she serves as lead on workforce projects, consults with agencies on organizational development, writes curricula, and develops professional educational materials used throughout the country. Dr. Brittain was honored with the NSDTA Distinguished Service in Training award and is co-editor/editor and contributing author for 3 books: Child Welfare Supervision (2009); Helping in Child Protective Services (2004); and Understanding the Medical Diagnosis of Child Abuse & Neglect (2006).


1-page Summary