High Turnover in Caseworkers Describing Characteristics of Past Child Welfare Workers

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Meredith Hilke
Anjanette Wells


By Meredith Hilke, Social Work

Advisor: Anjanette Wells

Presentation ID: 187

Abstract: High rates of job turnover pervade many areas of social work, especially in regard to child welfare. This lack of retention correlates with individual characteristics of each caseworker along with qualities pertaining to child welfare agencies and the caseworker role itself (Kruzich et al., 2014). When agencies are unable to limit staff turnover, the children and families they serve are negatively impacted. Recent studies focusing on contributing factors and recommendations to increase caseworker retention are further examined. This research study describes characteristics that could influence the turnover of child welfare caseworkers at Hamilton County Job and Family Services. These characteristics include highest degree achieved, field of study, additional licensure, number of years spent at the agency, what child welfare department they worked within, caseload, and total number of assigned children. The relevant information of 198 child welfare workers that left the agency was de-identified and examined. The most common degree type was a bachelor's degree and criminal justice was the most prominent field of study. Most of these past employees did not have additional licensure, spent less than one year at the agency, worked in the assessment unit, and were assigned 10-19 cases that consisted of 20-39 children in their last full month of employment. One way to address turnover could be incentive pay at annual benchmarks. Employee data collection and analysis also could be more streamlined to make changes according to individual feedback.

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Category: Stress, Trauma, & Addiction