Friday, January 14, 2011: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Meeting Room 9 (Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Organizations and Management
Symposium Organizer: Cathryn C. Potter, Professor, Associate Provost for Research, Executive Director, Butler Institute for Families, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Symposium Theme: Assessing Organizational Functioning in Child Welfare Understanding and responding to organizational challenges in child welfare is a focus of several efforts funded by the Children's Bureau, including funding of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, and five Comprehensive Workforce Projects. These five-year projects are each developing models of assessing and intervening in child welfare organizations in order to improve specific workforce dimensions of organizational functioning. In this presentation, three of these projects will present their approaches to organizational assessment, as well as findings from baseline assessments. Importance. Child welfare agencies are facing important workforce challenges in the coming years including a three-million person gap in available workers, a competitive disadvantage and disproportionately aging workforce relative to other sectors, and the degree to which new workers value work/life balance and work fulfillment in different ways than did baby boomers (Bernatovich & Potter, 2007). Workforce issues have an impact on organizations and the families they serve, including impacts on safety, permanency and well-being outcomes (National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), 2006). A growing body of evidence supports the use of organizational interventions as an important component of sustainable improvements in child welfare (e.g. Glisson, Dukes & Green, 2006). In 2003, the Children's Bureau awarded eight Recruitment and Retention (R&R) grants, which designed and implemented organizational interventions focused narrowly on recruiting and retaining line workers. Findings from these projects quickly led to a broader focus on organizational health in these highly stressed agencies (Potter, Comstock, Brittain & Hanna, 2010). The field is moving from the narrow focus on recruitment and retention to supporting long-term commitments to workforce issues and organizational health. In these days of limited resources, the abilities of the child welfare workforce to strengthen families are tested. Strengthening organizational environments is an important effort if we are to achieve the outcomes we expect of those working in child welfare organizations. One important feature of this emerging body of work is the focus on assessing organizational functioning.
* noted as presenting author
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