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


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Children and Youth Services Review 151 (2023) 107044



Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Introduction: US child welfare agencies have historically struggled with workforce retention and turnover. As part of the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development in Child Welfare, we tested an adaptation of the Resilience Alliance (RA) model in a large, Midwestern state to address workplace stress, burnout and actual workforce turnover. RA is a 24-week, facilitated program designed to mitigate the impact of secondary traumatic stress among child welfare professionals, and to therefore increase job satisfaction, resilience and optimism and to decrease turnover, stress reactivity and burnout.

Methods: Supervisory units of caseworkers and supervisors were randomized to the RA treatment condition (n = 192) or a control condition (no intervention; n = 183).

Hypothesis: We hypothesized that participation in the RA adaptation would cause the workforce to experience lower levels of secondary traumatic stress (STS), burnout and intent to search for work or leave their current position. We hypothesized that RA would lead to higher reported levels of resilience and intent to stay. Furthermore, if hypothesized changes were observed due to participation in RA, then such participation would also lead to decreased actual workforce turnover over a 2.5-year period.

Results: There were no statistically significant effects of the intervention on changes in STS, burnout or resilience between treatment and control groups over a 6-month period. Participation in RA did cause significant differences in 6-month changes for four turnover intention measures. Finally, RA had no statistically significant effect on turnover. Limitations and implications are described.