Quality supervision is an important factor in developing and retaining competent and effective child welfare professionals. Effective supervision models include strategies that support a consistent transfer of learning from training to practice, as well as the building of rapport, trust, and engagement between supervisors and staff that parallels practice with children and families.
This section includes resources that describe the importance of supervision in delivering quality services and developing and maintaining a workforce that is prepared to respond to the changing needs of children and families.
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.
Enhancing Skills in Child Welfare Practice Through Supervision
In Competency-Based Social Work Practice: An Integrated Approach to Decision Making
Describes the role of supervision in enhancing competencies in case decision-making using a child welfare case illustration. The chapter discusses the key decisions made by the supervisor who monitors, guides, and evaluates the social worker.
It's Not Me, It's You: A Multilevel Examination of Variables That Impact Employee Coaching Relationships
Gregory & Levy (2011)
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63(2)
Builds on recent research on the importance of the employee-coaching relationship by investigating individual difference and contextual variables that contribute to the quality of these relationships. The study uses a multilevel modeling approach to test the effects of such variables as supervisor leadership style, emotional intelligence, empathy, implicit person theory, trust, and feedback environment on employees' perceptions of the coaching relationships they share with their supervisors.
Learning and Living Toolkit
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Offers professionals a toolkit that increase leadership skills to strengthen the agency workforce development efforts to generate ideas, enhance development of personal learning place, and support strategic change efforts. The toolkit is designed with five domains including a competency definition and a menu of activities designed to promote further development of professional leadership.
OCFS Common Core: Supervisor's Guide (PDF - 4,884 KB)
Buffalo State College, Research Foundation for The State University of New York (SUNY), Center for Development of Human Services (2012)
Designed to help supervisors in New York prepare new caseworkers to participate in Core training, enable them to successfully complete all the Common Core training components, and transfer what they learned to their jobs. The guide is divided into nine sections, plus appendices, and includes tools to evaluate trainees' progress throughout their classroom and field training experiences.
Supervision: The Safety Net for Front-Line Child Welfare Practice: Report From a Think Tank Symposium (PDF - 1,055 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW), NASW Foundation, Social Work Policy Institute (2011)
Discusses the findings of a symposium that took place on November 18, 2010, that examined research that underscores the critical role that supervisors play in supporting and sustaining the workforce, underscores racial disparities that occur in child welfare practices, and examines initiatives to enhance supervisory practice. The participants developed an agenda for future actions that address research, practice improvements, professional education, knowledge dissemination, and policy enhancements.
Supervisors Can Develop Workers' Interpersonal Skills (PDF - 270 KB)
ACTION for Child Protection (2010)
Considers the interpersonal skills that are effective in facilitating the stages of the Protective Capacity Family Assessment and strategies supervisors can use to develop workers' interpersonal skills. The article also discusses characteristics needed by supervisors to be effective.
Workforce/Leadership Resource 1-Page Summary #24: Supportive Supervision (PDF - 136 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2012)
Discusses an article that explains the collaborative process used to develop a strengths-based supervision training model to improve child welfare practice. This factsheet identifies the administrative, supportive, and educational roles supervision plays in practice and shares findings from training evaluations that indicate specific aspects of quality supervision.