To improve our child welfare system, we
have to improve the recruitment of the people working in it.
Far too often, Child Protective Services seems to attract applicants who don’t
have other career options, who don’t quite understand what the job is, and who
don’t have the skills to accomplish it. Right now, child welfare workers are
overwhelmed. One report finds that the estimated national average turnover rate
at child welfare agencies is approximately 30%, with individual agency
rates as high as 65%. Some observers focus on the possible solution of
offering higher compensation and lower caseloads, but we should consider
recruiting applicants for CPS who are interested in law enforcement,
not just social work, and we should follow the lead of New York and Arizona
where the position is marketed as “first responder”. Going into homes where there
have been reports of abuse and neglect can be dangerous, and figuring out what
has gone wrong requires serious critical thinking and investigative skills.
Finding the right people for this job is crucial. Do you think child protective
service workers should be considered first responders? Let us know in our poll.
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