In an effort to improve the recruitment, selection, and retention of child welfare workers, researchers from the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill are developing and testing a multicomponent model of workforce development. The goal is to create a more competent and stable child welfare workforce, which will positively affect outcomes for children and families.
The new workforce development model incorporates recruitment resources, selection activities, training, and research and evaluation tasks. Components include:
- A realistic job preview video that can be used to recruit or screen applicants
- A recruitment toolkit that includes public service announcements (PSAs), posters, fliers, and brochures
- A competency-based selection process to help agencies hire competent staff
- Training for supervisors and agency directors on recruitment and hiring
- Training on the development of a retention team and use of a retention toolkit
- A curriculum that includes handouts, worksheets, and resources
- A research and evaluation component that involves surveying workers before and after training, as well as throughout the year, and compiling administrative statistics on every child welfare position at regular intervals
The model is currently being field-tested in 17 counties in North Carolina. Data collected will provide information on changes in the test counties from baseline to after training, as well as in comparison with 17 similar counties that are not receiving training.
Some of the challenges of this project have resulted from attempts to gather data from 34 different county agencies with various levels of technological resources and different levels of commitment to the project. However, the promise of new, more effective materials and training has proven to be attractive to many county child welfare agencies.
The project is funded through September 2008. It is hoped that evaluation data at that time will show the positive impact of the model in terms of increased stability and competency of the North Carolina child welfare workforce.
Reprinted from Children's Bureau Express, September/October 2006, "Worker Recruitment and Retention Project in North Carolina" (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=77§ionid=1&articleid=1206).