National eUpdate
Timely, Targeted News & Information from NCWWI | Sept 2018 | Issue 37
A Message from the Children's Bureau
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!
What We Are Learning about Effective and Supported Workforce Qualities
What Works for Workers
  • Workers are aware and mindful of their exposure to vicarious trauma and make use of effective coping tools such as humor, mindful presence when with family and friends, and diverse networks outside of work.
  • Workers particularly appreciate when supervisors value their opinions in case decision-making and provide support on particularly difficult case situations.
  • Job satisfaction, coping strategies, organizational climate, and operational peer support predict workers’ self-efficacy (their sense of competence and confidence in their job).
  • Even small decreases in work-related burnout leads to significant increases in workers’ effectiveness.
What Works for Supervisors
  • Job satisfaction and coping strategies were significant predictors of self-efficacy (their sense of competence and confidence in their job) for supervisors.
  • Being valued and supported by their supervisors/managers were key to feelings of effectiveness in the job for both workers and supervisors.

When is the last time you thanked a colleague and/or employee for a job well done?

Praise costs nothing and yet contributes to higher levels of engagement; improves morale, trust, and relationships; and decreases turnover ( Gallup ) and yet  employees say they don't get enough praise !

Here are some  tips for being successful .

We want to hear your messages of support so that we can share them with the field ! Please complete our online form if you are a:
  • Child welfare manager or administrator thanking staff
  • Child welfare staff who wants to share what motivates you to do this work and/or how this work makes a positive difference;
  • Parent/youth/family member who would like to thank a child welfare worker for helping you/your family.
Facilitating a Workforce Development Planning and Assessment Process
NCWWI has various tools and resources for facilitating a workforce development planning and assessment process. We are excited to share with you the Workforce Development Tool Kit Facilitator’s Guide that provides a sequential process for using team meetings to move through NCWWI's Workforce Development Planning and Assessment Tool Kit.

The Guide offers possible meeting agendas, suggested activities, talking points, and worksheets that accompany each stage and step in the workforce development process.

At the end of the process you will have:
  • A comprehensive plan to direct your workforce efforts
  • Evidence-based interventions addressing the components
  • Proven strategies for implementing and sustaining the effort

Dismantling Racial Inequity through Child Welfare Systems Change: FINAL WEBINAR

This one-hour combined webinar and learning exchange will focus on Ramsey County, Minnesota’s collaborations with internal and external partners in their perseverance of sustainable change that positively impacts families and children. Ramsey County colleagues will propose that continual and dedicated attention to racial disparities in child welfare must be at the core of any sustainability plan if child welfare agencies are to address, reduce, and ultimately eliminate race-based disparities in child welfare and their related systems.
Look for more resources and information coming your way next month. We look forward to continuing to support your workforce development efforts! If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Kollar ( ).

  Warmly, as always,
Your NCWWI Team