DDA Community Residential Services Training Update

Residential Service Providers Training & Information Updates

December 2018

Keeping current with training requirements

In 2016, training requirements (RCW 74.39A) went into effect. For DDA contracted programs, these requirements include Supported Living, Group Homes and Group Training Homes, Children’s Licensed Staff Residential, Alternative Living, and Companion Homes. Rules for the training are contained in Chapter 388-101D WAC and Chapter 388-829 WAC.

Upcoming training opportunities

Train-the-trainer Calendar

Courses are available region-wide, monthly. Every other month the Residential 40-hour CORE and Train-the-trainer Continuing Education (CE) series interchange. 

Residential 40 hour CORE training – Lacey, WA

January 7-11, 2019 (Only 6 slots remaining)

  • Monday - Friday
  • Location: Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98503
  • Presenter: LJ Keller
  • Register for 40 hour CORE by January 3, 2019

Technical Support Monthly Webinars

Please join us for the monthly Trainer Support Webinar. The webinars offer:

  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Updates on new training requirements
  • Training tips to help you be a better trainer
  • Opportunities for live interaction with providers

Register now for the next webinar scheduled Monday, December 28, 2018, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.


Continuing Education Opportunities

Training Deadlines for 2018

Continuing Education (CE) credits are due to be completed by December 31, 2018.

All employees hired after January 1, 2016 that have not completed Chapter 12 Skills Acquisition (part of the 40 hour CORE Curriculum) must complete this training before December 31, 2018.

2019 Training Opportunities

Starting in 2019, the Community Residential Training Program will offer free CE seminars to trainers and direct support professionals together. The CE seminars will sponsor a different Community Instructor to provide essential skills, knowledge and strategies to best support individuals in our programs and our staff.

Human Trafficking Seminar

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 (50 Slots available)
  • Location: Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave Olympia, WA 98503
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (catered lunch)
  • Presenter: Jeri Moomaw
  • CEUs: 8 CEs

Register for Human Trafficking Seminar by January 16, 2019  


Sarah's Corner

The ins and outs of Peer Coaching: How to develop and maintain a quality peer-coaching program

Evidence shows quality on-the-job training, especially peer coaching/mentoring, has a positive impact on any work environment. A well-engaged, supported and maintained peer-coaching program can:

  • increase employee retention,
  • improve safety of the vulnerable adults we support,
  • help new employees master their new role faster and
  • lead to greater efficiency when creating a person-centered work culture to transform lives.

Peer-coaching programs that are not well supported by the agency can increase employee turnover and put vulnerable individuals at risk.

The Basics: What are the rules?

RCW 74.39A.331 Peer mentoring.

Long-term care workers shall be offered on-the-job training or peer mentorship for at least one hour per week in the first ninety days of work from a long-term care worker who has completed at least twelve hours of mentor training and is mentoring no more than ten other workers at any given time. This requirement applies to long-term care workers who begin work on or after July 1, 2012, except that it does not apply to long-term care workers employed by community residential service businesses until January 1, 2016. 2012 c 164 § 403; 2012 c 1 § 111 (Initiative Measure No. 1163, approved November 8, 2011).]

The reason behind the rules

For a peer-coaching program to be effective, a strong framework must be built that promotes peer leadership. One way to do this is to choose coaches with certain attributes like patience, positivity and a natural ability to develop skills in others. Peer coaching is meant to be a way for organizations to promote a culture of excellence.

Timeline for the most effective Peer Coaching Programs

Another reason behind the rule is the most effective on-the-job training happens over the first three months of employment. An adult often needs to hear an idea eight times to fully understand and replicate that idea. It takes three to six months for new skills to become a habit. That is why it is not effective to complete peer coaching in a day or a week. It needs to take place every week for at least three months.

Remember you can enhance the checklist to match your agency’s requirements and if this checklist is taking longer than 12 hours to complete, you can request approval for Peer Coaching beyond 12 hours.

Development beyond a checklist

Adults learn through experience so on-the-job learning is a great way to teach adults. The most effective peer-coaching programs foster a strong relationship between coach and staff. This strong relationship enables the employee to come to the coach with challenges. It is during these times when the coach could consult the checklist and teach according to the needs and staff. It is best for a coach to help a new employee learn from experience when possible. If the pair completes the checklist without problem-solving issues or celebrating successes, the coaching programs can be ineffective. Ineffective peer coaching can stress new employees, cause delays in learning and this can put vulnerable adults at risk.

Longer-Term investment in Peer Coaches

Peer coaches need to be supported beyond y new-coach training. To effectively support new employees they need a place to seek resources, vent, problem-solve and build skills. The most effective peer-coaching programs offer monthly meetings. At the meeting participants receive peer support. A coordinator can offer more development, answer questions and problem-solve. Peer coaches also benefit from 1:1 support where they can ask questions confidentially and get help with advocacy for the staff they are supporting.

Peer Coaching for experienced employees

Phase one of developing a peer-coaching program is focusing on new staff and offering a flexible structure for on-the-job learning. However, evidence shows that peer coaching is effective at all levels of development. Experienced staff that are struggling could benefit from peer coaching. Agencies can also leverage peer coaching for those seeking to promote or occupy leadership positions.

Contact Sarah Blanchette if you have ideas about developing your peer coaching programs.


For other training opportunities and CE courses, please visit the DDA provider training opportunities page.

To announce training opportunities within your agency, contact Linda GilInclude the following information in your email:

  • Title of training
  • Dates/times, location (with address)
  • Speaker/presenter
  • Contact information for training registration
  • Is this approved for CE?
  • Who can attend?

For all other training questions contact Sarah Blanchette, Residential Provider Training Manager.