It is important that the field of child welfare supports the health and wellness of the environments in which its professionals work. Research shows that wellness is not only important for the individual, but also for the workplace. Child welfare workers are at risk of experiencing secondary or vicarious trauma due the scope and severity of the cases they manage. Just as child welfare workers will screen and assess children, youth, and families for behavioral health and wellness needs, agencies must also assess their environments to evaluate organizational wellness and implement policies and programs to enhance employee well-being.
Find resources in this section related to assessing organizational wellness, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue Resources include State and local examples.
The Behavioral Health and Wellness section has replaced both the Mental Health and the Substance Abuse sections on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website. Please update your bookmarks.
Assessing and Changing Organizational Culture and Climate for Effective Services
Research on Social Work Practice, 17(6)
Provides the findings of two national studies and one controlled clinical trial that focus on assessing and changing the social context of mental health and social service organizations. The research links organizational social context to service outcomes, describes a new profiling system for assessing organizational social context, and demonstrates how social context can be changed with planned organizational intervention strategies.
A Mixed Methods Multiple Case Study of Implementation as Usual in Children's Social Service Organizations (PDF - 305 KB)
Powell, Proctor, Glisson, Kohl, Raghavan, Brownson, Stoner, et al. (2013)
Implementation Science, 8(92)
Presents research that describes the implementation experiences of a sample of community-based organizations that provide mental health services to youth in one Midwestern city. The article focuses on the types of implementation strategies used to improve quality in children's mental health and social service settings; how organizational leaders make decisions about what to implement and how to approach the implementation process; organizational stakeholders' perceptions of different implementation strategies; and the potential influence of organizational culture and climate on implementation strategy selection, implementation decision-making, and stakeholders' perceptions of implementation strategies.
Organizational Climate and Service Outcomes in Child Welfare Systems
In Child Welfare and Child Well-Being: New Perspectives From the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being
Explores organizational climate and service outcomes in child welfare agencies. Findings indicate improvements in psychosocial functioning are significantly greater for maltreated children receiving child welfare services with more positive organizational climates.
The Role of Self-Care on Compassion Satisfaction, Burnout, and Secondary Trauma Among Child Welfare Workers
Salloum, Kondrat, Johnco, & Olson (2015)
Children and Youth Services Review, 49
Describes trauma-informed self-care (TISC) and presents the results of a study that examined the role of TISC on compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary trauma, which was assessed by administering surveys to a sample of 104 child welfare case managers and supervisors. Almost one-third of the sample reported high levels of burnout and secondary trauma and low levels of compassion satisfaction. Findings provide preliminary evidence that TISC may be a beneficial practice to reduce risk of burnout and preserve workers' positive experience of their job. However, workers experiencing secondary trauma are likely to need additional specialized intervention to assist them with their recovery.
The Sanctuary Model of Trauma: Informed Organizational Change (PDF - 4,596 KB)
The Source, 16(1)
Presents a trauma-informed method for creating or changing an organizational culture. The model was originally developed in a short-term, acute, inpatient psychiatric setting for adults who were traumatized as children, but has evolved into an evidence-supported template for system change based on the active creation and maintenance of a nonviolent, democratic, therapeutic community in which staff and clients are empowered as key decision-makers to build a socially responsive, emotionally intelligent community that fosters growth and change.
Trauma-Informed Organizational Self-Assessment for Child Abuse Prevention Agencies (PDF - 162 KB)
Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund (2012)
Presents a self-assessment guide for implementing service and systems-level change for child abuse and neglect prevention agencies that would like to become more trauma-informed. This guide, intended for staff at every agency level, was derived from the Trauma-Informed Care Toolkit developed by the National Center on Family Homelessness and adapted to more specifically address the child abuse prevention agency environment and service delivery system.
Children's Behavioral Health System Transformation: One State's Context and Strategies for Sustained Change
Harburger, Stephan, & Kaye (2013)
The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 40(4)
Examines the State of Maryland as a case study of sustained change efforts in the service delivery system for children with significant behavioral health needs and their families. Discusses the statewide establishment of care management entities for children with behavioral health challenges and its implications for behavioral health in the context of health-care reform changes.