According to a 2005 survey, the average caseload size for a child protective worker was 26.3, more than twice the CWLA- recommended 12 active cases per month. In the article, Witt described the day-to-day danger and challenge of being a caseworker and said "the result is a national shortage of child abuse investigators, exacerbated by a boom economy, that has left public agencies throughout the region scrambling to hire and keep skilled child welfare workers."
LeadershipLens Christine James-Brown hen I worked in Philadelphia, their jobs as well as they would like. by a boom economy, that has left public W I used to pass a hotel every day on my way to work. Over the employee entrance, a sign According to a 2005 survey, the average caseload size for a child protective worker was 26.3, more than twice the agencies throughout the region scram- bling to hire and keep skilled child wel- fare workers.” It seems that vulnerable read: “Our most valuable assets pass CWLA-recommended 12 active cases children and families just can’t catch through these doors every day.” In per month. The average minimum a break. Rather than a boom economy, the child welfare system it is certainly salary for a caseworker was approxi- we are experiencing a crisis economy true that employees—particularly, mately $32,000 in 2004; the median that is also likely to have a negative caseworkers— are a very valuable income for a family of four in the U.S. impact on having enough well-paid, asset. Our common sense tells us this was approximately $75,000. In a situa- well-trained, well-supported caseworkers. is true, and research supports it. The tion where children need consistency in As part of its advocacy agenda, Child and Family Service Reviews the relationship with their caseworker, CWLA clearly has the responsibility to have demonstrated that the more time dangerous work environments, large enhance the public policy environment a caseworker spends with a child and caseload sizes, low salaries, and other in support of positive outcomes for vul- family, the better the outcomes. factors lead to high worker turnover nerable children and families. But we Despite caseworkers’ role in help- rates. This ultimately results in insuffi- also have a responsibility to improve the ing our most vulnerable children and cient services for children and families. image of the child welfare system and to families, they are not fully appreciated. The article by Julie Collins increase the level of respect and recogni- Kathleen Belanger’s article (“They Are (“Addressing Secondary Traumatic tion for its most important asset—the All Our Children,” page 30) illustrates Stress,” page 10) highlights the trauma c
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