During National Staff Development Month, the Children’s Bureau partnered with NCWWI to promote acknowledgment of the significant contributions of child welfare staff. Often the complex, crisis-oriented and fast-paced nature of the work can distract agencies from ensuring their most valuable asset - the workforce - feels appreciated and recognized for all they do to improve the safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for vulnerable children and families.
When workers feel important and respected by their agencies and connected to the work, they are more likely to stay on the job. It is a small price to pay to reduce costs and improve outcomes!
Just as children and families are more likely to thrive and be successful when they feel safe, have permanency and stability in their lives, and have a sense of personal well-being, the same is true for child welfare workers. To be their best, workers need to feel both physically and psychologically safe at work and supported by their agencies and supervisors. They need permanency and stability such as job security, opportunities for development and career advancement, and living wages. They need a sense of well-being enhanced by things like flexible work schedules that allow a balance of work/life activities and family obligations, and available emotional and mental support when needed to deal with issues of secondary trauma and stress.
The field readily acknowledges that a family-centered approach in agency practices and service provision are far more likely to engage families in the work and support them toward more successful outcomes. In a similar way, worker-centered agencies that implement ways to improve safety, permanency, and well-being for staff can likely improve worker recruitment and retention outcomes, job satisfaction, and ultimately better child and family outcomes.
Let’s work together to make every month staff appreciation month!