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Home > Consultation > Trieschman Center for Consultation & Training > Workforce Development Initiative


Workforce Development Initiative

Since 1999, the Walker Trieschman Center has led CWLA's efforts to seek solutions for the workforce shortage in the child welfare field, and currently houses the organization's Workforce Development Initiative. This initiative is guided and supported by a National Advisory Committee and is building the field's capacity to comprehensively address immediate and long-term workforce issues.

These efforts have included linking all of the program areas and other CWLA initiatives that directly or indirectly involve the workforce. For instance, there have been efforts to jointly study workforce in Residential Care Certification and other aspects of service delivery. To be effective, the workforce initiative must also work closely with government affairs, program standards, and the regional leadership.

(All PDF Files require Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Workforce Development activities:
  1. Provide leadership and coordinate the range of CWLA activities that address workforce, including public policy, research, and member services

    • GAO Child Welfare Workforce Report
      Due in part to advocacy from CWLA and at the request of Congress, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report on the challenges confronting the child welfare workforce. The results of the report are based on the analysis of nearly 600 exit interviews from former child welfare workers, a review of over 27 state child welfare agency reviews, and interviews the GAO conducted with CWLA members. The information and expertise provided by a randomly selected sample of CWLA public and private agencies is evident in the richness of this report.

      The GAO report makes a compelling case to policymakers and the public for supporting the child welfare workforce in order to better protect children and youth. It provides a clear connection between retention rates and large caseloads and the abilities of agencies to attain some key federal safety and permanency goals. Specifically, the report states that worker turnover negatively impacts children's safety and permanency by delaying the timeliness of investigations and limiting the frequency and length of worker visits with children. The report also clearly documents that worker turnover disrupts the continuity of services and transitioning cases to remaining staff takes time and can result in delays to permanency decisions.

      As states are considering cuts that may impact the ability of the child welfare workforce, you may be able to utilize the findings of this report. The case for providing funds to increase salaries, decrease caseloads, ease administrative burdens, expand and improve supervision, strengthen training, and better protect the personal safety of workers in order to ultimately protect the safety and achieve permanency for children and youth are documented in this report. Share these powerful findings with your policymakers and challenge them to take responsibility for protecting and serving the children and families in your state.

      This report will also assist to secure national attention to this important issue.

      Requires Acrobat Reader  GAO Highlights: CHILD WELFARE: HHS Could Play a Greater Role in Helping Child Welfare Agencies Recruit and Retain Staff

      Requires Acrobat Reader  Full Report: CHILD WELFARE: HHS Could Play a Greater Role in Helping Child Welfare Agencies Recruit and Retain Staff (GAO-03-357)

        CWLA Highlights of GAO Report

        Sample Letter to Congress: GAO Child Welfare Workforce Report

        Sample Letter to the Editor: GAO Child Welfare Workforce Report

    • CWLA is continuing to research various aspects of the workforce:

      • CWLA, in collaboration with the American Public Human Service Association and the Alliance for Children and Families, researched workforce turnover and vacancy.
          Workforce Survey results in PDF format (Requires Acrobat Reader)   Workforce Survey results in HTML format

        The American Public Human Service Association has created a Workforce Data Collection Field Guide that contains practical information for agencies to use to better collect vital information on the recruitment, retention, satisfaction, and professional development needs of their workforce through the use of exit interviews, focus groups and surveys.
          Field Guide

      • CWLA recently completed the 2001 Salary Study. CWLA has been studying the salaries of employees in a variety of positions within member agencies for the past twenty years and in recent years has expanded the amount of information collected on vacancy, turnover, and benefits.
          2001 Salary Study

      • CWLA's Research to Practice Initiative developed a Research Roundup publication on workforce issues. It includes an annotated bibliography and descriptions of evidence-based efforts to improve workforce recruitment and retention.
          Research Roundup
          Annotated Bibliographies

  2. Contribute to publications

    • Maximizing Return on Your Training Investment: A Reference Guide for Managers

      Training is a critical component of workforce development. But experts agree most agency training programs have limited impact on the performance of workers in the field. This reference guide provides a wealth of information, as well as easy-to-use assessment tools to help managers get the most out of every training dollar.
        Download the PDF

    • Reports in the National Networker

    • Articles in Children's Voice Magazine
        Help Wanted
        Burned Out
        Empty Chairs

    • An issue brief entitled The Workforce Crisis in Child Welfare

    • A workforce book comprising case examples of promising interventions agencies are using to combat workforce concerns is being developed (Expected publication, Spring 2003).

  3. Convene national symposia and conferences for human resource professionals, agency administrators, trainers, and other interested parties

  4. Build partnerships to strategically address the workforce crisis

    • The Child Welfare League of America has been serving as a technical advisory to the Annie E Casey Foundation's Human Services Workforce Initiative. On March 26, 2003 the Foundation released a report entitled, "The Unsolved Challenge of System Reform: The Condition of the Frontline Human Services Workforce". This study was conducted by the Brookings Institution, which has created comparable reports of the for-profit, nonprofit, and federal government workforces and collected information from individuals delivering services to children in a range of systems and with job capacities that include frontline, supervisory and management positions. Specifically, the survey collected information from a sample that represented the estimated 3 million workers providing services in child welfare, juvenile justice, child care, employment and training, and youth services agencies. The study provides a profile of the workers within each sector.

      This report substantiates and documents many issues and concerns that those who work in the child welfare field have been observing for many years. Further, the report provides a more comprehensive picture than previously available of the workforce ultimately charged with serving the children and youth of America. In viewing this workforce in the aggregate, the research team has been able to view some of the common challenges that confront this workforce as well as the values and mission that motivate them. At the same time, the research has revealed a number of differences between these sectors that mandates careful consideration of how policy and program reform needs differ between the various sectors.
        More information

    • CWLA and the Institute for the Future of Aging Services, a research institute housed within the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, are looking at commonalities among human service workers serving multiple generations. We are also exploring collaborative policy and practice options for increasing the capacity of our workforces.

If you would like additional information on any of CWLA's Workforce Activities or to discuss the services and support that are available to public and private agencies, please contact:

Naomi Goldman

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