The Institute was established in 1991 as the Children's Protective Services Training Institute, an innovative partnership between the graduate schools of social work in Texas and the state’s Child Protective Services (CPS) program. In September 1998 the Institute expanded its services to include the other program divisions of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) — Adult Protective Services (APS), Child Care Licensing (CCL), and Statewide Intake (SWI) — and changed its name to Protective Services Training Institute of Texas (PSTI).
The Institute’s 50+ trainers (practitioner trainers, social work faculty, and experts from the community) provided 500-600 days of classroom training on more than 70 topics each fiscal year. Attendance of PSTI training, including distance learning opportunities, was 8,000–10,000 workers, supervisors and managers each year.
PSTI also offered professional certification to workers and supervisors in the four DFPS programs. More than 2,500 DFPS staff were certified through the Institute.
The Institute partnership included the schools of social work at The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Arlington, and University of Houston. These graduate schools collaborated to accomplish the work of the Institute under the coordination of the Institute director based in Austin. UT Austin's Center for Social Work Research held the main contract, subcontracting with the other partner universities for portions of its work plan each fiscal year.
The Institute hosted three practitioner-trainers (experienced supervisors or program directors on loan from DFPS), who worked with Institute staff and faculty trainers to ensure that Institute training was relevant and useful to DFPS staff. This blending of academic and agency expertise resulted in effective training, an enriched knowledge and practice base, and enhanced school-agency relationships.
The Institute closed on August 31, 2010.
Since it began in 1991, the Protective Services Training Institute:
- Trained 75,000 staff (through August 2006)
- Hosted a national roundtable on certification
- Developed and implemented a statewide certification program for workers and supervisors in CPS, APS, CCL and SWI
- Conducted needs assessments
- Facilitated the development of a professional development plan for CPS supervisors and workers
- Identified competencies for CPS and APS
- Identified performance dimensions for CCL
- Presented video conferences
- Offered train-the-trainer conferences
- Presented workshops at various national conferences
- Published numerous journal articles
- Participated in partnerships for the creation of CPS basic skills development modules and evaluations and assessment of supervisor roles and training
- Published a quarterly newsletter, Protection Connection, now an online training module