Professional growth and career development are important to the retention of a qualified child welfare workforce. Providing opportunities for growth and career advancement can help improve worker satisfaction and should be a key element in an organization's training system. The following resources provide information on professional development issues and strategies in child welfare.
- Core values, knowledge, and skills in Professional Development
- Supervisor's role in professional development
Bridging the Crevasse Between Direct Practice Social Work and Management by Increasing the Transferability of Core Skills
Tolleson Knee & Folsom (2012)
Administration in Social Work, 36 (4), p. 390-408
Examines the promotion of social workers primarily educated for and employed in direct service or clinical positions to entry or middle management levels. The article provides specific suggestions to graduate social work programs and human service organizations so social workers in direct practice can better transfer the skills to improve proficiency in the nontechnical aspects of human service management.
Developing a Competent Workforce. (special Issue of Zero to Three)
National Center for Infants & Zero to Three (Organization) (2011)
Zero to Three.org/Journal, 32 (1), p. 1-54
Explores a variety of approaches, perspectives, and challenges to building a competent early childhood workforce for the infant-family field. The issue offers recommendations for professional development for the infant-family workforce and the need to invest in early childhood programs.
A Facilitated Learning Model for New MA DCF Workers
Common Ground, 26(1)
Describes the New Worker Professional Development Program (NWPDP), an innovative methodology for engaging newly hired child welfare staff in initial training and orientation in Massachusetts. The NWPDP uses a dialog structure to engage participants by generating shared understanding and agreement about the purpose and outcomes of the training, including emerging practices and skill development.
Getting and Giving Feedback (chapter 10 in Social Work Documentation: A Guide to Strengthening Your Case Recording)
Addresses documentation feedback for social workers and makes suggestions on incorporating self-review, peer review, supervisory review, and process recording into ongoing professional development. The chapter includes a self-review worksheet and exercises for social workers to practice their documentation skills.
Improving Community-based Youth Work: Evaluation of an Action Research Approach
Roholt & Rana (2011)
Child and Youth Services, 32 (4), p. 317-335
Describes an approach to youth work professional development that supports professional-craft knowledge learning (practice wisdom). Using program evaluation data over the last 2 years and university-facilitator reflections, the authors describe what have been found to be the critical components of this approach as well as the implications of using the approach in day-to-day work.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare (PDF - 135 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2013)
Provides background information on the development and changes to the standards over the years and definitions of key terms. This publications includes standards for ethics and values; qualifications, knowledge, and practice requirements; professional development; record keeping and confidentiality of client information; cultural competence; supervision; social work administration; and much more.
Navigating a Multigenerational Workforce in Child Welfare (PDF - 896 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (2013)
Practice Perspectives, Winter Issue
Explores the challenges of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y working side by side in public and private child welfare agencies, the impact of generational conflicts on the workplace, and the need for administrators to engage employees in the workplace. Recommendations include learning about each generation's personal and professional characteristics, ensuring agency policies apply to a multigenerational workforce, fostering intergenerational teams and mentoring opportunities, and supporting professional development.
A Study of the Relationships Among Effective Supervision, Organizational Culture Promoting Evidence-based Practice, and Worker Self-efficacy in Public Child Welfare
Collins-Camargo & Royse (2010)
Journal of Public Child Welfare, 4 (1), p. 1-24
Provides a secondary analysis of survey data to examine the relationship between effective supervision, organizational culture, and self-efficacy. Also, supports further research into promising organizational strategies for performance and outcome improvement.
Supporting Others in Their Professional Development (chapter 12 in Social Work with Children and Families: Developing Advanced Practice)
Discusses ideas of professionalism in social work practice, professional development, ways of sharing professional expertise, and strategies for promoting positive learning environments in the workplace. Key characteristics of a learning organization as well as techniques for using reflection as a tool for learning are also described.
Training the "wizards": A Model for Building Self Efficacy and Peer Networks Among Urban Youth Workers
Ross & Buglione & Safford-Farquharson (2011)
Child and Youth Services, 32 (3), p. 200-223
Presents a community's efforts to address the professional development needs of frontline youth workers, including increasing youth workers' knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, and professional networks. Results from the evaluation of the training are discussed.