We are all responsible for children’s safety, well-being and success. Each with different roles must come together from all facets and levels of the community to ensure that individuals, families, organizations, and systems collaborate, communicate, create, and nurture meaningful partnerships.
Leaders charged with effectively and efficiently running child welfare services are not alone in the responsibility to help children flourish, but play a critical role in ensuring the strengths and resources of our communities are fully utilized. Successful administration must make use of all the evidence available to make good judgments both at the start of a program or policy and continuously for as long as it is in place. It is crucial to have good data of many kinds and to create an environment that supports learning, ongoing change, and creativity.
Federal leaders predominantly work out of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the majority of child welfare issues fall under HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Children’s Bureau. It is critical for child welfare advocates to ensure the administration is properly implementing legislative policy and effectively engaging federal, state and local partnerships.
The salaried child welfare workforce faces a number of challenges that hamper efforts to improve the lives of children, including low pay, high caseloads, insufficient training and supervision, bureaucratic impediments, media scrutiny and compromised emotional and physical safety and other risks. The resulting turnover further disrupts ongoing cases and robs the system of some of its more experienced workers. Better retention efforts must be in place to maintain a stronger workforce.