Turnover of frontline workers, as well as supervisory, management, and administrative staff, is a major concern in many child welfare agencies. Although some turnover is expected and unavoidable, maintaining a stable workforce is key to a healthy child welfare workforce. The following resources focus on the causes and impact of turnover. Resources include State and local examples.
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.
Listening to the Voices of Youth in Foster Care: Youths Speak Out About Child Welfare Workforce Turnover and Selection (PDF - 142 KB)
Florida Institute for Child Welfare (2017)
Provides a one-page summary of a 2010 article by Strolin-Goltzman, Kollar, and Trinkle that explores the experiences and opinions of youth in foster care on caseworker turnover and how it impacts them. The summary highlights the issue of attrition of child welfare workers as well as the findings. The implications from the study show that many youth experienced a lack of stability and a loss of trust due to caseworker turnover. A minority of youth felt hopeful and were glad to receive a “second chance” that comes with a new worker.
Turnover Among Wraparound Care Coordinators: Perspectives on Causes, Impacts, and Remedies (PDF - 1,018 KB)
Walker, Schurer Coldiron, & Taylor (2017)
The National Technical Assistance Network for Children's Behavioral Health (2019)
Introduces findings from a survey done by the National Wraparound Initiative and the National Wraparound Implementation Center on the prevalence and impact of turnover for wraparound care coordinators from a national perspective. Respondents shared their ideas to improve staff retention. Also view the companion webinar [Video].
Turnover Intention Predictors (PDF - 198 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2017)
Provides a one-page summary of a 2014 journal article by Kim & Kao regarding a meta-analysis of factors that influenced turnover intention in child welfare workers. The resource is visually engaging and categorizes 36 individual and organizational factors based on their impact on turnover intention, from low effect to high effect. The resource also suggests implications for child welfare work.
Why People Stay and Why They Leave [Video]
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Shares an overview of how turnover can have a challenging impact through a Texas case study, the factors that can push and pull workers toward staying or leaving, and what supervisors can do to reduce turnover. The format is through a 3-minute-long quick and actionable video that includes an audio transcript.
Child Protective Services Workforce Analysis and Recommendations (PDF - 1,669 KB)
Patel, McClure, Phillips, & Booker (2017)
Texas Association for the Protection of Children (TexProtects)
Discusses causes of the high turnover rate for child welfare workers in Texas and suggests solutions for addressing this challenge.
Minnesota Child Welfare Workforce Stabilization Study 2016 (PDF - 286 KB)
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrators, & Minnesota Department of Human Services (2016)
Summarizes a study that Minnesota completed on the state of their child protection workforce and includes a specific finding that a quarter of the workforce would experience turnover within 12 months. It found that higher salaries, lower caseloads, and fewer administrative requirements may influence retention of their workers.
Turning Over Turnover: Thinking Systemically About Worker Retention in Texas’ Child Protective Services
Cornell Policy Review
Introduces a systems thinking approach to caseworker turnover in Texas Child Protective Services. The history of failed attempts and the systems involved in turnover reduction efforts in Texas are analyzed. The influence of public perception is utilized as an example of an overlooked variable impacting turnover in the article and embedded video.