National eUpdate
April 2021
Understanding Moral Distress in Child Welfare
Moral distress happens when a professional knows the ethically appropriate action but cannot take that action due to internal (personal) or external (institutional) constraints, leading to painful feelings and psychological difficulties. Child welfare caseworkers face morally complex situations on a daily basis, but these situations and experiences of moral distress are seldom acknowledged.

Acknowledging and understanding caseworkers’ moral distress experiences is vital to worker well-being. Workers need to feel safe speaking up about moral distress so they feel more empowered to advocate for families’ needs. Organizations can support workers by focusing on positive psychological safety in the workplace and destigmatizing perceptions of failure. It is imperative to reduce or eliminate a culture of blame and to train supervisors on how to develop a psychologically safe climate. Incorporating the concept and impact of moral distress into new caseworker training and staff professional development is also key.
NCWWI Discussion Series Kicks Off on April 29
Join us April 29, 2021, from 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm EDT for the first session in our 5-part discussion series addressing how child welfare leaders have supported their workforce in building resiliency during the pandemic.

During the first half of the session, we will talk with Nancy Carre-Lee, deputy director for child protection and permanency operations, about the New Jersey Department of Children and Families' operational approach to building resilience in the workforce. We'll spend the second half of the session in peer-led small groups discussing how to incorporate strategies at your organization.
We hope you will also save the dates for the rest of the series (all at 1 pm ET):
  • Leveraging Key Partnerships on May 26 - REGISTER HERE
  • Understanding Moral Distress on June 23
  • Supporting Self-Care at the System Level on July 26
  • Connecting to Cultural Ways in August (date TBD)
Trending NCWWI Products
We are honored to support your workforce development efforts and hope these trending NCWWI products assist in your work. Please contact Sharon Kollar if you have questions about the following resources or if you need further assistance.

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