Improving Staff Retention
Workforce surveys consistently rate supervision as a key factor in worker retention. Good supervisors provide workers with day-to-day direction on all aspects of their work, model best practices, consult on cases, support decision-making, provide ongoing feedback on job performance, clarify policies and procedures, and create a supportive team environment. Resources in this section focus on these important supervisory functions and their impact on the workforce, including State and local examples.
Staff Retention in Child and Family Services: The Practice of Retention Focused Supervision, Workbook 2 (PDF - 1037 KB)
Anderson, McKenzie, Jackson, & McKenzie (2007)
Aims to increase child and family service agencies' effectiveness in developing and retaining staff by applying information from research and best retention practices.
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Works to build the capacity of the nation's child welfare workforce and improve outcomes for children and families through activities that support the development of skilled child welfare leaders in public, private, and tribal child welfare systems. The Institute's Leadership Academy for Supervisors provides the opportunity for supervisors to participate in leadership and other professional development activities in an interactive online environment.
Child Welfare Workplace: The State of the Workforce and Strategies to Improve Retention
Scannapieco & Connell-Carrick
Child Welfare, 86(6), 2007
Presents a study examining correlates related to retention. The findings indicate that supervisors and coworkers play crucial roles in retaining caseworkers.
Developing a Framework for Child Welfare Supervision
Landsman & D'Aunno (2012)
Journal of Family Strengths, Special Issue: Centennial of the Children's Bureau,12(1)
Discusses a framework that supports family-centered practice developed and implemented in the State of Iowa with support from the Children's Bureau through a 5-year grant to improve recruitment and retention in public child welfare. The article presents key elements of the framework; an overview of implementation; and evaluation results regarding knowledge gain, use of skills, and rates of worker retention.
Job Retention in Child Welfare: Effects of Perceived Organizational Support, Supervisor Support, and Intrinsic Job Value
Children and Youth Services Review, 27(2), 2005
Examines positive factors associated with job retention, including perceptions that an employer promoted life-work balance, a supervisor was supportive and competent, and few other job alternatives were discussed.
Recruiting and Retaining Children and Families' Social Workers: The Potential of Work Discussion Groups
Warman & Jackson
Journal of Social Work Practice, 21(1), 2007
Draws on the experience and evaluation of one particular model of supervision—work discussion groups—and explores its impact with residential social work staff and teachers as well as the potential for further developments of this kind.
Staff Retention in Child and Family Services: Working With Differences, Workbook 3 (PDF - 1234 KB)
Anderson, McKenzie, Jackson & McKenzie (2007)
Aims to increase child and family service agencies' effectiveness in developing and retaining their staff by applying information from research and best retention practices.
Supervision: The Safety Net for Front-Line Child Welfare Practice: Action Brief (PDF - 115 KB)
National Association of Social Workers, Social Work Policy Institute (2011)
Summarizes recommendations from a symposium held in November 2010 that examined the role child welfare supervisors play in supporting and sustaining the workforce, racial disparities in child welfare practice, and initiatives that are underway to enhance supervisory practice.
Taking a Closer Look at the Link Between Good Supervisors and Improved Outcomes for Children and Families: Reflections and Research (PDF - 116 KB)
Hired for Good, 3(1), 2006
Shares reflections on the significance of child welfare supervisors and reports research findings from a study conducted by Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, Chapin Hall Center for Children.
State and local examples
Direct Practice Consultation Program for Child Welfare Supervisors at Connecticut Department of Children and Families: Report Prepared for the Recruitment and Retention Advisory Board
Strand & Bosco-Ruggiero (2008)
Discusses the activities and outcomes of the Connecticut Direct Practice Consultation project, a program designed to provide consultation to child welfare supervisors to strengthen their ability to function in the role of mentor, coach, and educator with casework staff.
Supporting Child Welfare Supervisors to Improve Worker Retention
Child Welfare, 86(1), 2007
Describes implementation of a federally funded child welfare training initiative designed to improve worker retention through developing, implementing, and evaluating a statewide supervisor training program in a Midwestern State.