September is Child Welfare Workforce Development Month. While recognizing the need for ongoing development, we must make sure we are looking to developing ways to support child welfare workers by building capacity.
An unplanned and underfunded strain on unemployment insurance agency systems will inevitably happen again; the question is not if, but when. So how can you ensure you are maximizing the capacity of your existing trained staff and serving as many customers as possible with the resources you have every day?
Fueled by increasing demands to improve federal measures and strengthen parental engagement activities and at a time when programs are experiencing significant staff attrition, decreasing budgets, and stagnant collections, child support programs are under extreme pressure to rethink how they serve children and families.
Our child welfare systems can feel like we are in a game of Jenga. We are attempting to grow and expand our systems by moving pieces one by one - while stretching our limited capacity. But with each move, the entire system risks collapse, particularly with worker shortages.
Strategies to create a system that is aligned, prepared, and has the capacity needed to meet demand…regardless of the month, 365 days out of the year.
Emerging Stronger When the Public Health Emergency Ends: How Agencies Can Make Room for the Upcoming Wave of Renewals and New Customers
When the public health emergency (PHE) and pandemic waivers come to an end, agencies must renew all existing Medicaid recipients. For many agencies already struggling with staff capacity to meet existing demand, they will no doubt be overwhelmed. To help agencies prepare for and tackle the wave of renewal workload, we offer specific steps that agencies can take to meet this increased demand.
While it is wonderful to recognize the heroes during National Foster Care Month, we must also be aware of the realities of the foster care system and be willing to make a change. A change that will allow the heroes we celebrate to shine, unencumbered by complicated, outdated processes. If we take a glance through the lens of capacity, we will find a starting point so that we can do more good for children and families.
You Can’t Hire Your Way Out of the Staff Turnover Crisis: Addressing the Realities of Staff Turnover Through Process
Turnover is an unprecedented challenge that threatens the well-being of children. But staff is hard to find, harder to retain, and we are hiring back into the same systems that haven’t addressed fundamental challenges that have existed for decades. The only way to improve this reality to rethink our approach.
Redefining Social Worker Appreciation: How to create a system of capacity rather than a position of sacrifice
What if, instead of working so hard to appreciate the sacrifice, child welfare leaders took a long look in the mirror to see why social workers must sacrifice work-life balance in the first place? Maybe the question isn't about how we appreciate social workers well. Maybe the real question is how we get off the hamster wheel and create system capacity, so appreciation is reserved for a job well done, not to make up for a personal life lost.
For more than a year we shifted work to a virtual platform out of necessity, and as we safely return to in-person activities it would be easy to sprint as fast as possible back to “the way we did things before COVID-19”. But, what if instead of sprinting we took the time to pause and reflect? Perhaps some of our new virtual practices make child welfare better.