The organizational structure of child welfare: Staff are working hard, but it is hardly working

Source: Wendy Whiting Blomea, Sue D. Steibb, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 44, September 2014

From the abstract:
Child welfare has been overseen, litigated, reviewed, and chastised by those internal to the system and those who have never faced a traumatized child or an abusive parent. The work of child welfare occurs within organizations, generally large, public sector agencies. Literature has paid little attention to the organizational structure or staffing patterns of the agencies mandated to serve vulnerable children and families. This article explores the challenges facing child welfare and ponders the notion that the structure of public child welfare agencies has developed in response to internal and external factors. The resulting organizational structure may not be the best to support the myriad of mandates that child welfare must achieve.

Highlights:
• Child welfare historically supported professional staff serving vulnerable clients.
• The structure of organizations does not reflect what works for at-risk families.
• Practice based on family needs must eclipse considerations of politics and money.
• Child welfare requires an organizational structure that supports competent workers.
• Child welfare practitioners are best prepared by rigorous social work education.