On October 24-26, 2005, the Children's Bureau (CB) sponsored a Workforce Institute at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA, with approximately 250 invited participants. The Institute had several purposes: 1) to highlight productive/action-planning strategies for recruiting and retaining a stable and skilled workforce; 2) to share best practices; 3) to develop innovative solutions to common challenges; and 4) to build a shared knowledge base.
Much of the impetus for the Institute came from a cluster of CB's discretionary grants on child welfare staff recruitment and retention as well as the findings of recent workforce-related studies conducted by national child-serving organizations and associations. Both indicating a need to highlight successes and challenges is hiring and retaining a qualified workforce. Institute participants included public and private non-profit child welfare agency representatives; State and local agency directors and administrators; university faculty members, researchers and educators; representatives of national organizations, human resources professionals; CB grantees, and CB training and technical assistance (T&TA) network representatives.
The program included eight plenary sessions, fourteen concurrent workshops, and ten synthesis groups. Forty-eight experts, many of whom are principal investigators for CB's Child Welfare Training grant program, made presentations. Attendees also had access to a resource/exhibit room with 8 exhibitors. Here participants could network with colleagues and expand their knowledge of workforce programs and resources.
Several plenary and workshop sessions were videotaped and are available for viewing (see Presentations section). During both the 2006 Court Improvement Program meeting and the 2006 States and Tribes meeting, there were specific sessions to continue the discussion on workforce issues. This report captures the ideas and thoughts that were shared during the Institute.