Enhancing Child Welfare Service Delivery: Promoting Agency-Social Work Education Partnerships

By Zlotnik, Joan Levy | Policy & Practice of Public Human Services, March 2001 | Go to article overview

Enhancing Child Welfare Service Delivery: Promoting Agency-Social Work Education Partnerships


Zlotnik, Joan Levy, Policy & Practice of Public Human Services


Editor's Note: The issue of recruiting and retaining child welfare workers is important to APHSA members. As a result, the APHSA Board of Directors has convened a task force to address the issue. Under the direction of APHSA's Board Task Forte on Human Services Workforce Preparation, Recruitment, and Retention, APHSA staff has formed a partnership with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the Alliance for Children and Families to gather data about the scope and nature of workforce problems in child welfare agencies. Using a common questionnaire, the three organizations surveyed their public members (APHSA) and private members (CWLA and the Alliance) in late 2000. APHSA's preliminary findings are expected to be presented at APHSA's spring meeting of the National Council of State Human Service Administrators in Bethesda, Maryland.

Child welfare agencies throughout the United States are challenged to recruit and retain competent staff (Alwon & Reitz, 2000). Frontline staff and supervisors need knowledge and skills to deal with the complexities of child welfare practice--working with children and families who have multiple problems; dealing with multiple systems, including the courts, mental health, schools, and substance abuse providers; and providing a range of direct counseling, therapeutic, and case management services.

The need for well-trained, competent staff who will remain on the job for a reasonable period of time is further reinforced by efforts to implement the provisions of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997. ASFA places renewed emphasis on staff abilities. Staff need to work "quicker" and "smarter" to ensure timely decision-making and to address safety, permanence, and well-being for each child who enters the child welfare system. They need to have the value base and ethical standards to effectively implement such practices as concurrent planning and family group decision-making.

With more than one-half of the states involved in child welfare class action lawsuits, a frequent antidote is to require that child welfare staff have better training (Jenkins, 1994). For example, to settle a long-standing class action lawsuit in Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services sought accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children (COA) for its public agency and all its private providers. Under COA standards, all child welfare supervisors must have a graduate degree in social work or a related field. To meet this standard, the state sent more than 140 supervisors to graduate school to get their master's in social work.

As further evidence of the need for competent staff, research on child welfare practice also indicates that agencies may encounter the following benefits if they hire staff with social work degrees:

* Agencies have lower rates of turnover if some positions require a graduate degree in social work;

* Staff with undergraduate and graduate social work degrees are better able to make permanency plans for children who are in foster care for at least two years (Albers, Rittner & Reilly, 1993);

* Staff with graduate social work degrees are better able to deal with the complexity of problems faced in child welfare practice; and

* Staff with social work degrees are rated higher on quality assurance measures (Dhooper, Royse & Wolfe, 1990).

Reconnecting Social Work Education and Child Welfare

To meet policy and judicial demands and to improve practice, child welfare agencies at the state and local levels have reconnected with social work education programs to

* Develop staff training strategies for current staff,

* Encourage social work students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to pursue careers in child welfare,

* Provide opportunities for current child welfare staff to return to school to get graduate social work degrees, and

* Undertake collaborative research, program development, evaluation, and planning efforts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Enhancing Child Welfare Service Delivery: Promoting Agency-Social Work Education Partnerships
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.