Date of this Version
The Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD) is dedicated to understanding how to improve child welfare workforce outcomes. The QIC-WD partnered with eight child welfare agencies to evaluate evidence-informed workforce interventions and how they are related to outcomes for children. The Family Safety Program serves the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) to provide high quality and innovative care utilizing an integrated model to ensure client access to behavioral health services and targeted case management. The Family Safety Program has chosen to address the issue of inconsistent staff expectations, specifically targeting issues of role clarity and culturally sensitive practice. The Family Safety Program is a relatively new agency and has not yet developed a comprehensive onboarding program for new employees. As a result, staff may have inconsistent job expectations; varying levels of job-relevant knowledge; and limited understanding and appreciation of Cherokee history, culture, and systems of governance. By implementing a manualized onboarding process for new social workers, staff will improve in role clarity; cultural competency; cohesiveness across units; job satisfaction; and retention. These factors will result in more consistent and effective services for families. The QIC-WD team, collaborating with various agencies affiliated with EBCI and respected cultural experts, is developing an onboarding process to ensure new staff are familiar with expectations, are able to function within the culture, and are adequately prepared to succeed in their new roles. This onboarding intervention will entail a blended model of mentorship, targeted supervision, video presentations, and discussions to provide a multifaceted experience and adequately prepare staff to operate with maximum efficacy in the community. The QIC-WD is dedicated to generating new knowledge about effective strategies to improve child welfare workforce outcomes. This will be accomplished through a site-specific evaluation and a cross-site evaluation. Through an evaluation of The Family Safety Program Onboarding Project, we will better understand: the importance of providing information on historical grief and trauma and cultural nuances when preparing social workers for effective and appropriate interaction with indigenous populations; the impact of uniform communication of expectations upon initial entry into the workforce; the ability of targeted cross-unit onboarding efforts to increase collaboration between units as well as agency-wide cohesiveness and role clarity; the potential benefit of incorporating mentorship in onboarding to allow new workers to process information and maintain a relationship in which they feel comfortable seeking peer-to-peer guidance; and the impact of initial, guided weekly check-ins with supervisors on long-term relationships with those supervisors and staff comfortability with maintaining an open dialogue with their direct superiors.