The following resources provide State and local examples of studies, interventions, and recommendations to positively influence retention in the child welfare workforce. Several of the resources are child welfare workforce evaluations that include retention as a component of what was studied. Other reports are the result of State or county audits of the child welfare system. Many of the resources include an assessment of their current interventions to influence retention as well as proposed solutions.
2017 State Roundtable Report: Caseworker Retention Workgroup
Pennsylvania State Roundtable, Caseworker Retention Workgroup (2017)
Shares the impact of turnover and strategies that have been or should be implemented to improve retention rates across the child welfare and related systems in Pennsylvania. The report contains relevant resources, including sections of other articles and PowerPoint presentations, that informed their report.
Arizona Department of Child Safety: Staff Retention, Recruitment, and Training (PDF - 1,454 KB)
Arizona Auditor General
Reports on the findings from an audit required by an Arizona law that focuses on the child welfare agency’s staff turnover, retention efforts, recruiting practices, tuition assistance program, and training. The report was written to the Arizona Legislature and outlines conclusions, recommendations, and the Department of Child Safety’s response.
Balancing Head & Heart: California’s Child Welfare Workforce (PDF - 170 KB)
California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership (2017)
In Sights, 14
Provides an overview of the California child welfare workforce, the importance of understanding turnover and its impact, and strategies for retention on a national and State level. The report contains a mix of personal stories, research, and policy that provide insight into retention.
Caseworker Retention Survey Report: Applied Research in Child Welfare Project (PDF - 1,802 KB)
Raven, Winokur, Holmquist-Johnson, & Kenyon (2018)
Colorado State University, Social Work Research Center
Provides an indepth review of the need for, goals of, implementation of, and findings from the Caseworker Retention Survey that was implemented in 11 Colorado County child welfare agencies. The impact of turnover on the workforce is explored while specific personal, psychological, and organizational interventions are proposed to increase retention.
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group Assessment Documents
State of Indiana Department of Child Services (2019)
Provides a series of links to documents and reports regarding Indiana’s Department of Child Services’ work with the CWG in order to improve their workforce and outcomes for children and families. Two of the change initiatives that were recommended. The evaluation includes progress on 1) improving recruitment and retention of staff and 2) improving the agency culture and climate.
Child Welfare Staff Engagement & Retention in Washington, DC: Alternative Work Schedules, Telecommuting & Other Supports (PDF - 126 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2014)
Summarizes the resources, critical findings, and implications for child welfare work learned from Washington, DC’s, retention interventions, including alternative work schedules, telecommuting, and other supports. The one-page resource was based on the 2013 webinar [Video].
Department of Family and Protective Services: Staff Report With Final Results (PDF - 4,649 KB)
Sunset Advisory Commission (2015)
Reports on the findings and policy recommendations from the Sunset Commission’s work with the Department of Family and Protective Services in Texas to help them improve their daily work and remove burdens on caseworkers so that they have more time to spend with the children and families on their caseload. Pages 17–32 of this report focus on employee retention problems and solutions specifically.
Finding “Health” and “Meaning” in Texas-Sized Turnover: Application of Seminal Management Principles for Administration and Research in U.S. Public Child Welfare Agencies (PDF - 519 KB)
Willis, Chavkin, & Leung (2016)
Advances in Social Work, 17(2)
Discusses turnover rates in the child welfare workforce over time, utilizing Texas as an example, and the minimal impact efforts to reduce turnover have made. The current turnover construct is critiqued and a new construct of thinking related to the heterogeneity and healthy facets of turnover is proposed with three key recommendations for administrators and researchers to integrate this thinking into their work.
NJ DCF Workforce: Preliminary Highlights: 2014-2015 (PDF - 1,311 KB)
Rutgers University, School of Social Work & New Jersey Department of Children and Families (2015)
Reports on the state of the New Jersey Department of Children and Family Services workforce across different domains, including position requirements, vacancy rate, turnover rate, demographics, compensation, caseload and supervisory ratios, professional development and training, and follow-up steps. During the time period reported, New Jersey had a 7.2 percent turnover rate, which is low compared with child welfare turnover rate estimates across the nation.
Report of the Child Welfare System Task Force to the 2019 Kansas Legislature (PDF - 2,385 KB)
Kansas Child Welfare System Task Force (2019)
Reports on the findings and recommendations of the Child Welfare System Task Force to improve the child welfare system in Kansas. A highest-priority recommendation within the report is for the State of Kansas to invest in the workforce to positively influence recruitment and retention rates.
Research Agenda: Child Welfare Department of Human Services (PDF - 810 KB)
Bellatty & Kolb (2017)
Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS)
Provides an overview of the ways that Oregon DHS plans to utilize data to inform research and decisions related to child welfare. Of note is the section on “Recruitment and Retention of Caseworkers and Supervisors,” where prior research and possible data measures are discussed.
The State of Foster Parent Recruitment & Retention in the State Of Mississippi
National Council for Adoption, 2019
Presents preliminary findings of a study into the recruitment and retention of foster parents in Mississippi.