#MacroSW Chat 11/2/2017: Exploring the Image and Burn-Out of the Child Welfare Worker

Child_Adult_HandChat Archive

The words “child welfare” can bring various reactions from members of a community with most being negative in nature. It can inspire hate, fear, and frustration. But why is this?

Child welfare, mostly associated with child protective services, has the primary goal of ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families. If it is determined that abuse or neglect has occurred, caseworkers help parents or caregivers address those issues by providing referrals to treatment, emergency housing, parenting classes and other support.

Join us on Thursday, November 2, at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) for the #MacroSW chat with contributor Niara Morrow (@SWMorrow), an intake caseworker at Job and Family Services in Cincinnati and recent MSW graduate from the University of Cincinnati, to explore the public image of the child protective services and discuss ways we can change opinions about the child welfare worker.

Additionally, we will discuss why this field has one of the highest turnover rates within the social work profession and how to mitigate burn-out which may occur from feeling under-appreciated and high caseloads.

Questions:

  1. What are some words or phrases you have heard associated with child welfare?
  2. Why do you think there is a negative perception associated with child welfare? What can be done to change this?
  3. Why is there a high turnover rate in this field?
  4. What are some ways for agencies can increase the retention of child welfare caseworkers?
  5. What are strategies child welfare workers can use to avoid burn-out?

Many perceive the child welfare system as “just taking away kids” but child protective services work closely with both families and community partners to make decisions that affect and protect children. People, who may or may not be involved with child protective services, need to realize child welfare workers play an important role in family’s lives.

Resources:

Negative Public Images Hamper Child Welfare Investigators, University of Illinois School of Social Work

Caseload and Workload Management, Child Welfare Information Gateway

High Caseloads: How do they Impact Delivery of Health and Human Services?, Social Work Policy Institute

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