Child Welfare Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD)


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Sometimes researchers, administrators and practitioners miss studies that cut across social service fields but that include child welfare workers in their samples. For example, a Canadian study by Graham, Shier, & Nicholas (2016), Workplace Congruence and Occupational Outcomes Among Social Services Workers, has relevant implications for the child welfare field. This study found that when a job setting matches an employee’s expectations regarding workload, autonomy, the working environment, and the values of the organization, there is likely to be a lower intention to leave the job and greater life satisfaction. This finding implies it is important to help new child welfare employees set realistic expectations about the job. The QIC-WD is built on a model of learning from multiple disciplines and workplace settings to help child welfare jurisdictions think about a myriad of ways to improve circumstances for their own workforces. Our team has created Umbrella Summaries which contain information from meta-analyses, systematic and comprehensive reviews on a specific workforce intervention that has been found to impact job retention or performance. Most of these studies were conducted by Industrial-Organizational Psychologists in all types of work settings, but many of the interventions have relevance for child welfare. Building on the example above, the QICWD recently released a summary of the research behind the Realistic Job Previews (RJP), a hiring tool that can be used to address employee expectations. RJPs are designed to provide job candidates with positive and negative information about the job and the organization, for the purpose of influencing employee perceptions, attitudes, job performance, and ultimately, retention. Human Resources professionals and leaders in child welfare jurisdictions can use findings from these studies and meta-analyses to inform their policies and practices.