A stable workforce is essential for a successful child welfare system. When jurisdictions recruit and maintain a staff of qualified, diverse, and committed child welfare professionals, families can receive the high-quality, equitable supports and services they need to thrive. In addition, a diverse staff that understands the needs of the families they are serving is an important step to address disparities and disproportionality in child welfare.
Stability is crucial in a system where families rely upon child welfare professionals and other service providers for information and support. However, many agencies face challenges recruiting and retaining qualified and committed caseworkers, supervisors, and administrative staff. This worker turnover and lack of continuity can impact a family’s relationship with the child welfare agency and safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes. Workforce supports such as providing mentoring and coaching or offering opportunities for professional development, can be used to improve retention and help staff feel well-prepared. Other community-based, family-serving programs can bolster the child welfare workforce by sharing collective responsibility for children and families.
Explore the pages in this section to learn about recruiting and supporting stable child welfare workforces, training and supporting workers, and addressing issues related to recruitment, workloads, and turnover.
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Recruitment and Retention
Recruiting and retaining qualified child welfare professionals is a crucial part of creating sustainable, effective services for children and families.
Effective management and supervision enhance agency and staff performance and workforce retention, improving outcomes for children, youth, and families.
Supervising for Quality Child Welfare Practice
Read an overview of child welfare supervision and learn about the dimensions of supervision that agencies may want to consider as they seek to strengthen the effectiveness of their services to children and families with examples of States' efforts.
Caseload and Workload Management
Review information on managing child welfare caseloads and workloads. Manageable caseloads and workloads can affect a worker's ability to spend adequate time with children and families, improve staff retention, and have a positive impact on outcomes.
Key Findings From the QIC-WD at Various Stages of the Employee Lifecycle
Find takeaways from different phases of the employee lifecycle and resources for job design, career interests, organization support, onboarding, training, and more.
Rethinking Child Welfare Recruitment
Examine the growing issue of recruiting and retaining effective child welfare workers and how agencies need to restructure to focus on policies that affect worker practice, work climate, work satisfaction, and worker retention to improve well-being.
Addressing Historical Trauma and Preparing the Child Welfare Workforce
Watch a video that features an elder from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians discussing historical grief and trauma and the importance of preparing the child welfare workforce to more effectively work with American Indian/Alaska Native families.
Experiences of Professionals of Color in the Child Welfare Workforce
Find information from recent studies on issues related to workforce development and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and review workforce development actions that child welfare decision-makers can consider to address DEI at various levels.
Findings from Seven Years of Child Welfare Workforce Interventions
Discover findings from the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development based on work with 57 public and Tribal child welfare intervention sites, workforce analytics institutes, rapid-cycle recruitment projects, and workforce data dashboards.
Workforce Analytics Dashboards: Bridging the Gap Between HR and Child Welfare
Watch a video from the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development that highlights how data visualization tools can help child welfare jurisdictions more effectively utilize their workforce data to reduce turnover and improve retention.
Find information from the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development about child welfare workforce scorecards, including how they should be used, their benefits and limitations, and step-by-step guidance for creating a workforce scorecard.