Session: Child Welfare Workforce Interventions and Organizational Change: Preliminary Results from the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

258 Child Welfare Workforce Interventions and Organizational Change: Preliminary Results from the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development

Friday, January 22, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: Child Welfare
Symposium Organizer:
Dana Hollinshead, PhD, University of Colorado
Background and Purpose: Child welfare agencies across the U.S. suffer from chronic staffing instability, with typical turnover rates estimated at 20% - 50% within two years of hiring. In 2016, the Children's Bureau funded a five-year project, the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD), with the primary mission of studying child welfare workforce interventions targeted at reducing turnover. Since that time, and guided by implementation science principles and insights obtained from social work science, eight sites have worked through an extensive needs assessment process, designed and/or selected an intervention matched to staff needs, and rolled out its implementation. This presentation will highlight preliminary findings from the changes adopted by four of the participating sites: Nebraska, Louisiana, Virginia, and Washington and presents current knowledge from the cross-site evaluation. While the studies are ongoing, we will present lessons learned and insights from a variety of data collection methods, implementation of the interventions, and, where possible, preliminary insights into associations with turnover. The four interventions include: an adaptation of Resilience Alliance to reduce secondary traumatic stress and enhance resilience (Nebraska), a job redesign to reduce administrative task demands to increase more time with children and families (Louisiana), introduction of technological innovations to support practice and reduce documentation time (Virginia) and telework (Washington). The cross-site evaluation is organizing an analysis that will lead to a better understanding of child welfare turnover as both an outcome of workforce policy and practice change, but also to assess its impact on child welfare outcomes, if any. Methods: While interventions differ between sites, common methods are being employed to collect child welfare administrative, HR, and staff survey data. Further, the nature of the intervention selected means that each site employed different methods to identify the staff targeted for the intervention, fidelity assessments, and outcome measurements. Study designs include cluster randomized control trials, interrupted time series, pretest-posttest non-equivalent groups design, and mixed methods. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression, survival analyses, and OLS regression models were employed to examine associations between caseworker, agency, and intervention factors with implementation and outcome measures. Mediation and moderation effects examining associations between agency culture and climate and worker characteristics and turnover were also explored. Results: Preliminary results have shed insights into characteristics of the child welfare workforce associations between worker and agency factors and intervention implementation, uptake, and turnover and variations in turnover rates across the sites. Several of the interventions and workforce conditions have also been subjected to systematic disruption as a result of policy and practice changes forced by the COVID 19 pandemic. For example, management and staff attitudes regarding telework in child welfare have begun to shift to a more favorable view. Conclusions and Implications: The results from these analyses serve to reduce the dearth of rigorous, replicable research examining child welfare interventions targeted at the reduction of staff turnover. Agency administrators and supervisors will gain insights into the selection, implementation, and efficacy of interventions on secondary stress, technological supports, telework policies, and job redesign.2020-->
* noted as presenting author
Secondary Traumatic Stress in the Child Welfare Workforce: Preliminary Results from Nebraska's CFS Strong Intervention
Rebecca Orsi, PhD, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus | Department of Pediatrics
Lessons Learned to Date from the Qic-WD Cross-Site Evaluation
Anita Barbee, PhD, University of Louisville
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