Many new child welfare workers enter the field full of promise and the potential to help vulnerable children and families. But by the end of their first year, only 60 percent remain in the field, according to a story published in City Limits Magazine this week. Emotionally taxing situations, unpredictable schedules and heavy caseloads are just some of the challenges caseworkers face each day. City Limits profiled a program called Children's Corps, which aims to support New York City caseworkers and keep them on the job.
According to the City Limits profile, beyond the financial cost of recruiting and training new staff, frequent changes hurt kids in foster care. Studies confirm that children assigned to one caseworker fare better than their counterparts who are reassigned during their involvement with the child welfare system.
Children’s Corps uses a strategy similar to Teach for America to recruit new child welfare workers, identifying recent college graduates and professionals with an interest in using their skills to improve the field of child welfare. Candidates complete a training program to help them prepare for stresses they may encounter in the field, and are then placed at agencies across the city. They receive ongoing support and professional development throughout the two-year program.
The model is showing early success. According to Children's Corps, their average one-year retention rate is 87 percent, compared with 60 percent citywide.
Read the City Limits piece, including an interview with Children’s Corps founders here.
To read a Child Welfare Watch profile of Children's Corps, download a copy of Child Welfare Watch Volume 21 here.