To meet their mission to protect children from abuse and neglect, child welfare agencies must must recruit and hire qualified applicants, provide training that adequately prepares new caseworkers to perform their job responsibilities, and retain high performing staff. CFRP studies the challenges child welfare agencies face in trying to maintain a high-quality workforce and best practices on outcomes for children in the child welfare system.
Maintaining a high-quality, professional, and stable workforce is integral to a child welfare agency’s capacity to fulfill its mission, but the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff is a persistent challenge for child welfare agencies across the country, including Child Protective Services (CPS) at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). In 2014, Texas CPS began Transformation, a set of initiatives that aim to improve the way CPS supports the safety, permanency, and wellbeing of children. CFRP is conducting an outcomes and implementation evaluation of the new approaches to training and supervision under CPS Transformation. CFRP is conducting longitudinal surveys of all caseworkers, supervisors, and leadership; focus groups of each regional workforce; and analyses linking the survey data with the large CPS administrative data system. CFRP’s evaluation will provide DFPS with a better understanding of the strategies that are effective for training and maintaining the high-quality workforce that is so central to the agency’s mission to serve vulnerable children and families.
The Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) is responsible for protecting children from unreasonable harm who have been placed in the state’s care. The Child Protective Services (CPS) program within DFPS places children in foster care, monitors child safety, and provides services. The Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) program is responsible for licensing and monitoring facilities that house children in foster care and for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, or violations of state minimum standards in licensed facilities. To fulfill the responsibilities to children in care outlined in state law, regulatory standards, and policy, CPS and RCCL must maintain reasonable caseload levels for their staff. To inform the recommendations of the special masters appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Jack regarding the care of children who are in the custody of the state, CFRP is conducting two studies on the workloads of CPS and RCCL staff. One study focuses on I See You caseworkers (courtesy workers assigned to children placed outside of their home jurisdiction) and the other examines RCCL inspectors, investigators, and generalists. In each study, CFRP is assessing the extent to which staff are able to meet the expectations in state law, regulatory standards, and policy at their current caseload levels and developing recommendations regarding a reasonable caseload level that allows staff to meet these expectations.