An Examination of Retention and Length of Employment Among Public Child Welfare Workers

Source: Elissa Madden, Maria Scannapieco, Kirsten Painter, Children and Youth Services Review, Available online 6 March 2014
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From the abstract:
Using longitudinal data collected over a 10 year period from a statewide sample of all new public child welfare caseworkers hired between 2001 and 2010, the present study uses Cox Proportional Hazards Regression analysis to examine personal and organizational factors that affect length of employment among child welfare workers. This study adds to the expanding body of research on factors that impact retention of child welfare workers, as few other studies have explored how personal and organizational factors influence caseworker length of employment. Understanding factors that may influence caseworker retention, and specifically length of employment, is an important next step in understanding the type of caseworkers that agencies should target when hiring, as well as the types of workplace interventions and strategies that should be implemented to help retain caseworkers and move towards achieving a more stable workforce. The findings of this study suggest that a mixture of personal and organizational factors influenced the length of time that child welfare workers remained with the agency. Of the variables evaluated in the models, gender, social work education, Title IV-E involvement, organizational support and job desirability were shown to significantly influence longevity with the agency.

Highlights:
• We evaluate factors that influence child welfare caseworker length of employment.
• A mixture of personal and organizational factors influenced length of employment.
• Personal factors included: gender, social work education, Title IV-E status.
• Organizational factors included: organizational support and job desirability.