This section contains resources relating to professional preparation for the child welfare workforce, including information on the overall workforce; organizational structure, culture, and climate; education programs; and expectations for child welfare staff entering the field. State and local examples are also included.
Behavioral Health Workforce Projections, 2016–2030: Social Workers (PDF - 711 KB)
Health Resources and Services Administration (2018)
Discusses the behavioral health workforce and provides national projections for the supply and demand of social workers in the years 2016 to 2030. The model projects that the demand for social workers will grow over time and that more social workers with graduate degrees will be needed in the future.
Episode 30: Casework: What it Really Takes
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2018)
Examines how caseworkers can best prepare for the first day on the job and discusses some challenges they will face and how to overcome them.
Experiences of Professionals of Color in the Child Welfare Workforce
Williams-Mbengue & Barbee (2023)
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development
Summarizes recent studies on issues related to workforce development and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and describes workforce development actions that child welfare decision-makers can consider to address DEI at various system levels.
Key Findings From the QIC-WD at Various Stages of the Employee Lifecycle
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (2023)
Provides an infographic about the child welfare employee lifecycle as well as resources for each stage, including recruitment, onboarding, training, supervision, and more.
The Mental Health Workforce: A Primer (PDF - 870 KB)
Congressional Research Service
Provides information on the mental health workforce, including clinical social workers, psychologists, and others. The report provides a working definition of the mental health workforce, reviews licensure requirements, outlines the dimensions of the workforce that influence quality of care, and explores scope of practice for providers.
Organizational Environment (PDF - 134 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2016)
Examines organizational environments and cultures and how they influence employee performance in child welfare. The publication also assesses the connection between outcomes for youth and culture-related items—including rigidity, resistance, and proficiency—along with climate dimensions of engagement, functionality, and stress.
Profile of the Social Work Workforce (PDF - 3,277 KB)
Salsberg, Quigley, Mehfoud, Acquaviva, Wyche, & Sliwa (2017)
George Washington University Health Workforce Institute and School of Nursing
Presents a profile of the social work workforce, including a definition of the workforce, its size, the demographic and educational background of workers, and more. Findings show there are many social workers without degrees in the field, social workers are predominantly female, the number of social workers is growing steadily, private employers are most common, and education type varies.
The Role of Organizational Culture and Climate in Innovation and Effectiveness
Human Service Organizations, Management, Leadership, and Governance, 39(4)
Explores the differences between organizational culture and climate and discusses the association of these with workplace innovation, turnover, service quality, and outcomes. Evidence suggests positive cultures and climates within organizations create innovative and supportive workplaces.
Through Their Lens: Case Managers' Experiences of the Child Welfare System (PDF - 232 KB)
Thompson, Stevenson, & Cooley (2017)
Qualitative Social Work, 16(3)
Examines the perspectives of current and former child welfare case managers and explores what brought them into the system, expectations, relationships within the workplace, and recommendations for change. ¬¬-Findings show that case managers often face a lack of support.
What Is Organizational Culture and Climate? And How Do You Measure It?
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (2017)
Defines organizational culture and climate and describes how both can affect employee morale, expectations, turnover, and outcomes for children and families. More information is also provided about the Organizational Social Context tool being created to measure the culture and climate of child welfare and mental health organizations.
Who's Who in the Child Welfare System
Health Care Toolbox (2016)
Provides an overview of some of the different kinds of roles within the child welfare workforce. The page reviews child protective services workers, public and agency caseworkers, dependency court judges, child advocate attorneys, guardians ad litem, and resource parents.
Workforce Development Framework (PDF - 860 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2015)
Presents a framework developed by the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute to provide guidance to the field of child welfare on how to enhance leadership and strengthen the child welfare workforce. The framework covers topics such as education and professional preparation, recruitment, work conditions, professional development and training, and organizational environment.
Balancing Head & Heart: California's Child Welfare Workforce (PDF - 205 KB)
California's Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership (2017)
Examines the work being performed by California's child welfare workforce, presents facts and statistics about the workforce, offers personal stories, and highlights challenges faced and opportunities for strengthening the field.
Frontline Workers in the State Child Protective System: Perspectives on Factors That Impact Effectiveness and Efficiency of Child Protective Work (PDF - 2,417 KB)
Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services (2019)
Presents the results of a survey of frontline workers in Maine's child protective services system, which asked about their perspective on factors impacting their ability to do their jobs keeping children safe. The workers weighed in on factors such as the nature of the job, worker safety, training and preparedness, workload, and quality of work.
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: Organizational Culture and Climate
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (2019)
Offers a presentation on organizational culture and climate and provides an example of a healthy organization and climate. The presentation also reviews an intervention being used in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, to strengthen its child welfare agency's culture and climate and why this intervention was chosen.