About the Child Welfare Workload Compendium
Research underscores the importance of quality relationships between frontline child welfare workers and the children and families they serve. However, current workloads/caseloads and the complexity of cases coming into care make it difficult for workers in many jurisdictions to effectively serve families. States have been challenged in making workload/caseload reductions because of staff shortages, more complex, time-intensive cases, and administrative requirements. In the first round of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), about half the States' Program Improvement Plans (PIPs) noted the need for improvements in workloads or caseloads. Yet, there are few sources of information to assist States and localities in their efforts to address workload issues.
The Child Welfare Workload Compendium is intended to make State-specific workload and caseload information transparent and accessible to child welfare managers, administrators, and policymakers. The goal is to provide a vehicle for jurisdictions to share what they are doing to address workload issues, achieve manageable workloads/caseloads, and improve the quality of services to children and families.
Because workload information can be difficult to obtain and changes frequently, the Workload Compendium does not contain all the workload-related information from every State or locality. The goal is to continue to add workload information over time. Child Welfare Information Gateway encourages jurisdictions to submit information on their workload initiatives for inclusion in the database. Send information to email@example.com.
It should be noted that information and data contained in the Workload Compendium do not address the many differences in State and local definitions, information gathering, methodology, and reporting. For example, States and localities differ in how they define workload and caseload, which, in turn, has a direct impact on reporting. Information Gateway recommends that users refer to each jurisdiction's definition.
The Workload Compendium does not attempt to account for different child welfare systems and practicesfor example, the differences between State- and county-administered systems, or between jurisdictions that use case management services versus those that provide direct services. It is a collection of related, but dissimilar information. Therefore, comparisons should not be made between States or localities based on the information in the Workload Compendium.
Finally, the Workload Compendium does not address new and innovative practice approaches and their impact on workload, nor examine the varied methodologies that States and localities use to collect, classify, analyze, and report workload information. For additional information on these topics, see the Information Gateway webpage Management & Supervision: Workforce - Workload/Caseload.
For related information, see Action for Child Protection's "Child Protective Services Workload Management Model."
The following definitions from Information Gateway's Glossary are offered to provide some initial guidance:
The amount of work required to successfully manage a case and bring it to resolution. It is based on the responsibilities assigned to complete a specific task or set of tasks for which the worker is responsible
Measuring workload requires an assessment of (1) the factors that impact the time it takes to do the work required of each case and (2) the time workers spend on activities not directly related to their case responsibilities.
Individuals (usually counted as children or family units) for whom a worker is responsible, as expressed in a ratio of clients to staff members.
Caseloads may be measured for an individual worker; all workers assigned a specific type of case; or all workers in a particular office or region.
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the Council on Accreditation (COA) both offer caseload standards and guidance on appropriate workloads in a number of program areas, which many States and localities take into consideration when developing standards for their workers. For more information:
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