Increasingly, child welfare researchers and reformers focus on the importance of leadership in building and maintaining an effective workforce. Agency administrators and judicial officers provide vision and inspiration and ensure successful implementation of program and practice improvements. Without such leadership, reform efforts are less likely to be successful or sustained.
The following resources describe aspects of child welfare leadership and leadership strategies that can improve agency effectiveness, guide transformational change, and impact the workforce, including leadership competencies and effective leadership programs.
Leadership Competency Framework
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2020)
Presents a leadership competency framework to help develop, guide, and evaluate leadership within a child welfare program. The framework offers four fundamental competencies: Leading Change; Leading in Context; Leading for Results; and Leading people.
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute Offers evidence-based leadership training and development to enhance the ability of supervisors and middle managers to initiate and support organizational transformations that lead to improved outcomes for children, families, and communities. Training is followed by peer networking events. Certificates and/or continuing education units are available.
Leadership Development: A Pathway to Transforming the Public Child Welfare System (PDF - 344 KB)
Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 97(2)
Summarizes a study that found organizational leadership is the core determining condition for readiness for change in child welfare and discusses policy and practice recommendations for child welfare leaders wishing to effect organizational change.
Leadership Development at the Top: A Teaching Case on Coaching in a Public Human Service Organization (PDF - 121 KB)
Fernandez, Austin, & Weisner (2020)
Guiding Organizational Change, Chapter 14
Examines the use of executive coaching in leadership development for agency managers. The study describes a successful strategy for expanding organizational leadership within a collaborative management framework and the investment of agency resources needed to achieve such a result.
Learning and Living Leadership: A Tool Kit
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2021)
Offers professionals a toolkit to help them develop the leadership skills needed to strengthen agency workforce development efforts, generate ideas, enhance the development of a personal learning place, and support strategic change efforts.
Minority Professional Leadership Development Program
Presents a 12-month program for emerging minority leaders in the child welfare field that includes hands-on experience, the opportunity to work with national experts in the field, and mentorship opportunities.
A Call for Judicial Leadership in Reshaping Child Welfare in the United States (PDF - 1,126 KB)
Milner & Kelly (2018)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Explains how primary prevention strategies in child welfare can be supported and implemented within the judicial system.
The Critical Role of Child Welfare, Judicial Leadership and Community Collaboration: Building Resilience in the Wake of COVID-19 [Webinar]
National Association of Women Judges (2020)
Offers a webinar in which national judicial leaders discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and families involved with the child welfare system and describes how courts and communities are building resiliency through collaboration.
Judicial Leadership and Improving Child Protection Outcomes
National Center for State Courts
Presents seven strategies to incorporate the use of outcomes data to improve child and family services within the judicial system.
National Judicial Leadership Summit IV on Child Welfare
National Center for State Courts (2019)
Provides resources from the National Judicial Leadership Summit IV on Child Welfare that cover the themes of incorporating the voice of families in the court process, delivering high-quality legal representation to families, preventing the unnecessary entry of children into foster care, ensuring procedural fairness, and child welfare reform.
Spotlight on the Role of the Legal and Judicial Community in Improving Outcomes for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2019)
Children’s Bureau Express, 19(10)
Presents audience-specific articles related to the intersection of the judicial and child welfare systems that support increased collaboration and child-serving capacities.