On Tuesday, April 19, as part of the CWLA National Advocacy Summit, Washington DC: Investing in What It Takes: A Full Continuum of Care  CWLA will provide a special focus on the significance of the child welfare workforce and its role in assisting vulnerable families.

CWLA will sponsor a Capitol Hill briefing on Tuesday, April 19, at 2:30 PM (Room 421 Cannon House Office Building) to discuss the importance of the child welfare workforce.  The panel discussion will feature two presentations, one on a New York City based program through Fostering Change For Children, that is focused on recruitment, training and support and another discussion by a reporter who has conducted some in-depth analysis of the Colorado child welfare workforce.

The briefing will also focus some discussion on the Administration’s budget proposal to strengthen the child welfare workforce by making changes to the Title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance law to expand state access to current federal worker training funds.

Fostering Change for Children has an innovative program, Children’s Corp that partners with some New York child welfare agencies and higher education institutions to develop and implement a strategic recruitment and selection process that seeks to expand a well-trained child welfare workforce.  Chief Executive Officer Barry Chaffkin will present on how this program works, its current progress and the ongoing research.  The panel will also include observations by Chris Walker, Reporter, Westword, Denver, Colorado. Walker will receive the CWLA Anna Quindlen Award for journalism on Tuesday evening during a dinner discussion. During the briefing he will provide insight on what he has learned from his in-depth reporting on the challenges of a being a part of the child welfare workforce.  

In this year’s budget the Administration proposes to use the Title IV-E training funds to promote BSW/MSW education for child welfare workers. The proposal allows states to directly charge the costs of education to receive a BSW or MSW to the title IV-E training funds and eliminate the cost allocation requirements. Currently states can receive a 75 percent match on state dollars spent on worker training.  This funding can be used for private agency staff as well as public agency staff as long as it flows through the state child welfare agency.  The funding structure is complicated.  States can only extend such matching funds based on what percentage of a worker’s caseload is IV-E eligible.  For example, if 50 percent of a worker’s foster care caseload is eligible for Title IV-E funding (due to the link to the 1996 AFDC cash assistance law), then only 50 percent of that workers training costs is eligible for the 75 percent match.  The complexity can also be financially risky for states subject to federal audits.

By eliminating the allocation of costs it is hoped that the proposal will decrease the financial burden and incentivize states and encourage them to support more caseworkers in obtaining a BSW or MSW degrees.  The proposal would make the training contingent on a service requirement for recipients of this support.

In addition to the simplified training funds match, the budget proposal includes an enhanced Title IV-E administrative match for BSW/MSW caseworkers.  The Administration, citing research that a better educated workforce will result in positive permanency outcomes for children in foster care and children who are at-risk of entering foster care, would encourage states to enhance the workforce through this higher federal match rate for caseworkers with BSW or MSW degrees. State agencies achieving substantial improvement in hiring caseworkers with BSW or MSW degrees would be eligible for the enhanced administrative match (now at fifty percent).

CWLA supports the proposal as an important tool for recruitment and development of the child welfare workforce.  The Capitol Hill briefing does not require conference registration. But to participate in all three days of CWLA activity (including an evening discussion that will build on the briefing)  REGISTER NOW —-April 18-20, 2016 National Advocacy Summit, Washington DC: Investing in What It Takes: A Full Continuum of Care