Abstract: Promoting Equity Among Hispanic Protective Service Workers: Predictive Factors to Support Motivation to Stay in the Workplace (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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182P Promoting Equity Among Hispanic Protective Service Workers: Predictive Factors to Support Motivation to Stay in the Workplace

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Patrick Leung, PhD, Professor, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Gabrielle Aquino-Adriatico, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Monit Cheung, PhD, Professor, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Background and Purpose: As of 2018, Hispanic or Latinx children are overrepresented in the child welfare system in 20 states (Puzzanchera et al., 2020). This disproportionality calls for protective service workers who are more culturally responsive in supporting Hispanic or Latinx youth. However, emerging research has found that job-related stress impacts the health and well-being of child welfare professionals (Griffiths et al., 2018). Job-related stressors in the field of protective services also have a negative impact on the well-being of families involved in the child welfare system (Barbee et al., 2018; Carr et al., 2019; Griffiths & Royse, 2017; Park & Pierce, 2020; Wilke et al., 2018). There is limited research focused on factors motivating public human service workers to stay on the job (Leung et al., 2010), especially among Hispanic workers. Thus, this study aimed to identify which factors might support Hispanic child welfare employees to increase motivation to stay in the workplace.

Methods: This survey was conducted in 2016 as part of a larger study with data collected from public workers to examine employees’ perceptions of the various types of incentives offered by the state government. Data were analyzed using SPSS 27.0 with an alpha of .05 to establish statistical significance. Approximately 27% of the respondents identified as Hispanic (n=1,569). A subsample analysis was conducted with the Hispanic respondents. Logistic regression analysis was utilized to identify predictive factors towards motivation to stay in the workplace among Hispanic protective service workers.

Results: On average, the respondents were 39 years of age (SD = 10.3), and their average employment longevity was 8 years (SD = 7.32). Most respondents had a bachelor’s degree (76.2%), were female (81%), and worked in the Child Protective Services (CPS) division (77.6%). The logistic regression results reveal four factors emerged as significant predictors of motivation to stay in the workplace among Hispanic employees. Respondents were more likely to report motivated to stay working for CPS if they were older (OR 1.025; CI 1.003-1.048), satisfied with their current salary (OR 1.477; CI 1.011-2.157), liked their work environment (OR 2.459; CI 1.783-3.393), and found their work rewarding (OR 3.742; CI 2.668-5.248).

Conclusion and Implications: This study reveals that the work environment plays a significant role in motivation to stay among Hispanic employees. Creating a supportive work environment may positively impact employees’ well-being. In addition, having rewarding work serves as a motivating factor to empower employees to stay and advocate for an equitable work environment. If employees are motivated to stay, children involved in CPS will receive a higher level of continuity-of-care service. This study supports incentives that lead to a stronger staff with less turnover, improved employees’ well-being, and increased support for Hispanic children and families with adequate support. By improving work-related factors, work equity is promoted to support Hispanic employees. Further, learning which protective factors are associated with work motivation can help social workers learn how to support Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) employees and create equitable work environments.