Child Welfare Certificate Suicide Prevention Modules

Suicide Prevention with Child Welfare Involved Youth Online Course

This free self-paced online course provides learners with knowledge and skills related to suicide prevention among youth involved with the child welfare system.

About this course

Youth involved with the child welfare system are at substantially higher risk for suicide than the general population, making social work students and child welfare staff an optimal audience for suicide prevention training. Through lectures, interviews, readings, experiential exercises, and reflection prompts, learners will understand the unique risks that child welfare involved youth have for suicide as well as techniques to express concern, ask directly about suicide, and respond to suicide risk. 

The course is organized into 5 modules: 

  • Module 1 – Introduction to Suicide Prevention
  • Module 2 – Suicide Risk Among Child Welfare Involved Youth
  • Module 3 – The Public Health Model of Suicide Prevention
  • Module 4 – Brief Interventions for Youth Suicide 
  • Module 5 – What Does Suicide Prevention Look Like In the Child Welfare System?

The course was designed for individuals currently working in child welfare, foster care, or youth-placement agencies, as well as individuals who have worked in those settings or who wish to do so in the future. It satisfies the suicide prevention competency requirement of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Child Welfare Certificate Program. The competencies include: 

  • Students can recognize suicide warning signs, identify risk and protective factors, and understand the prevalence and preventability of suicide.
  • Students know appropriate techniques to express concern and query children and adolescents about suicide ideation or attempt.
  • Students can work collaboratively with the child or youth, legal guardians, caregivers, and support team and make appropriate referrals for assessments/services in response to suicide risk concerns.


This free, publicly available suicide prevention course tailored for a child welfare audience is the culmination of a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Children’s Services Agency and Injury & Violence Prevention Section, the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry and School of Social Work, and the Transforming Youth Suicide Prevention in Michigan (TYSP-Mi3) program. TYSP-Mi3 is funded by cooperative agreement 5H79SM082148 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the MDHHS. The views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.