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Studies frequently point to caseloads and workloads as a key factor in worker turnover and workforce retention. Workers need to be able to spend time with the children and families on their caseloads in order to accurately assess risk; identify needs, strengths, and resources; develop an appropriate case plan; and work with the family to achieve it. Determining the right number and types of cases, assigning cases appropriately to staff, reviewing and adjusting the types of tasks assigned to workers in addition to their direct work with families-all are ingredients for ensuring a manageable caseload and workload for staff. The following resources discuss the role of caseload and workload in workforce retention.
- National workload/caseload studies and reports
- State and local examples
- Child welfare workload compendium
|Caseload and Workload Management|
|Series Title:||Issue Briefs|
|Author(s):||Child Welfare Information Gateway.
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|Year Published:||2010 - 19 pages|
|Discusses the problems of large caseloads and workloads for child welfare workers and examines the benefits of caseload and workload management. Catalysts and motivating factors for managing caseloads and workloads are reviewed in the context of workload studies and other tools. Strategies for caseload and workload management are provided, along with State and local examples of caseload and workload strategies. Links to organizations and resources are included.|
Advocasey Examines the Staffing Crisis in Children and Family Services (PDF - 1330 KB)
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Advocasey, Spring 2004
Explores the workforce crisis plaguing children and family services. This issue highlights the need for renewed focus on frontline workers serving needy kids and families, and an up-close look is taken at this challenge in Greenville, South Carolina.
Agency Workforce Estimation: Simple Steps for Improving Child Safety and Permanency (PDF - 487 KB)
Wagner, Johnson, & Healy (2009)
Reviews research findings that link adequate staffing to improved child safety and well-being, as well as presents approaches for evaluating agency workforce needs and managing workforce capacity.
Child Welfare: HHS Could Play a Greater Role in Helping Child Welfare Agencies Recruit and Retain Staff: Report to Congressional Requesters
U.S. General Accounting Office (2003)
Presents findings from GAO interviews with caseworkers in four States. High caseloads and related administrative burdens; a lack of supervisory support; and insufficient time to take training were cited as issues impacting both caseworkers' ability to work effectively and their decision to stay in the child welfare profession.
Child Welfare Policy Briefing: Child Welfare Workforce (PDF - 788 KB)
Kelleher, Chavez, & Sciamanna (2011)
American Humane Association
Explores ways to set appropriate standards to improve child welfare agencies’ practices and system functioning and outcomes for children and families by using workload management studies to determine how workers are spending their time.
Factors Influencing Retention of Child Welfare Staff: A Systematic Review of Research (PDF - 963 KB)
Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (2005)
Reviews research and outcomes studies related to recruitment and retention in child welfare and determines effective recruitment and retention strategies that child welfare agencies can implement to address workforce issues.
High Caseloads: How Do They Impact Delivery of Health and Human Services? (PDF - 100 KB)
Social Work Policy Institute (2010)
Summarizes research findings on the impact of high caseloads and the retention of child welfare workers. State and local examples are included.
Job Turnover in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: The Voices of Former Frontline Workers (PDF - 602 KB)
National Council on Crime and Delinquency (2006)
Reports on 300 interviews with former frontline workers in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems that examined factors motivating human service workers to leave their jobs. Recommendations for improving the workplace for child welfare and juvenile justice workers are discussed.
Promising Approaches to Recruiting and Retaining Quality Child Welfare Workers [Plenary Session Panel]
Child Welfare Workforce Development and Workplace Enhancement Institute: Knowledge Development and Application
Robinson, Light, Day, Steib, Woodside, & Zlotnik (2005)
Identifies some of the factors contributing to the successful recruitment and retention of a quality child welfare workforce. View multimedia presentation and materials for each speaker.
Workforce and Accountability: Child and Family Services Reviews-Implications for Child Welfare Practice: Report From the August 3, 2004 Symposium (PDF - 65 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (2004)
Provides an overview of the presentations, discussion, and recommendations from a symposium convened by the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research in collaboration with the National Association of Social Workers to address recent research on child welfare service delivery. Presentations include a review of recent relevant Government Accountability Office reports, analyses of the Child and Family Service Review findings, a perspective on technical assistance planning from the Children's Bureau, and strategies for best practices.