In Focus: Enhancing the Workforce
Dec 04, 2009 | Permalink »
Child Welfare Workforce Improvement Act Would Help Ensure Strong Child Welfare Workforce
The Child Welfare Workforce Improvement Act of 2009 (S. 2837) introduced in the Senate on Dec. 4 by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (R-Nebraska) will make significant strides toward ensure the child welfare workforce is able to provide the quality, individualized services that children and families need.
Well-trained and supervised caseworkers with the resources to do their jobs are essential to achieving the outcomes we want for children and their families. These workers must be able to accurately assess needs and risks, connect children and families to services and monitor that progress are critical to a quality child welfare workforce. S. 2837 will help achieve this and build on important improvements made by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.
The National Academy of Sciences will conduct a study of the child welfare workforce, gathering critical information on child welfare staff that will help inform important improvements in the child welfare workforce.
The act will expand training opportunities, ensuring that Title IV-E training dollars can be used to support child welfare staff providing family support, reunification, and post-permanency services as well as those providing foster care, adoption or kinship services. Training dollars will be available to support not only staff of public and private child welfare agencies and the courts but also related professionals who serve children in the child welfare system.
The act will also remove barriers to providing federal support for the child welfare workforce and establish a demonstration grant program to help states, tribes and large counties improve their child welfare workforces.
Jul 17, 2009 | Permalink »
The Child Welfare Workforce: A Crucial Part of the Child Welfare Team
The child welfare workforce is a vital component of the child welfare system. Those working with children and families can have a profound impact on the child's well-being and the outcomes they experience. Unfortunately, states have had difficulty in recruiting, hiring, and retaining a quality workforce. Additionally, existing restrictions limit federal support for training to an outdated income eligibility requirement and results in only a portion of child welfare workers' training being eligible for this support.
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act Supporting extended federal support for training of more of those caring for and working with children in the child welfare system, including relative guardians, staff of private child welfare agencies, court personnel, attorneys, guardian ad litems, and other court appointed special advocates. However, as with previously covered workers, training for these additional individuals is only federally supported to the extent they are working with Title IV-E eligible children. Further, in practice, federal support is often administered in a manner that fails to recognize the scope of work that child welfare professionals engage in.
It is important to note that there are still other important related professionals whose training is not federally supported. Professionals working in a range of child and family serving fields such as education, health, mental health, substance abuse treatment, law enforcement, juvenile justice and domestic violence often work with children and families who have contact with the child welfare system. It is crucial that these individuals are provided with training on child welfare relevant topics in order to best meet the needs of children who are involved with the child welfare system.