A project out of the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in New York is helping to shape the child welfare workforce in Connecticut. In conjunction with the Child Welfare League of America, faculty and staff at the university are working with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) as part of the Recruitment and Retention of Child Welfare Staff by Building Management Capacity project. The project aims to increase retention of competent and committed management and supervisory staff; support transfer of learning from the classroom to the worksite; improve targeted recruitment; and strengthen the relationship between the public child welfare agency, Fordham, and universities in Connecticut.
After conducting a survey and focus groups among DCF staff to determine job satisfaction and reasons for turnover, project staff began working in partnership with DCF staff to build capacity for recruitment and retention. Components of the project include:
- Transfer of learning curricula and training for managers and supervisors
- New policies and procedures for exit interviews
- A behavioral interviewing process for prospective supervisors
- Development of a leadership institute
- Building a recruitment and retention practice model for DCF
- A strong, structured mentoring program for DCF staff
The mentoring program, in which supervisors or workers are paired with managers for 1 year, is an important component of the project. The program has proven to be both effective and popular, and DCF now views mentoring as an integral part of the development of an organizational culture that supports workers and supervisors. Besides learning more about their jobs and job skills, mentees gain a broader perspective of the mission and function of the agency, increase professional development opportunities, and become acquainted with upper-level management. Mentors report being reenergized, recommitted, and pleased with the opportunity to "give back" to the agency. The mentoring program also has helped to increase the diversity of staff and is helping to attract and retain good workers and supervisors.
Reprinted from Children's Bureau Express, May 2007, "Building Management Capacity for Workforce Recruitment and Retention" (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=83&articleID=1337&keywords=Building%20Management).