Improving the Child Welfare Workforce: Lessons Learned from Class Action Litigation

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The National Center for Youth Law/Children’s Rights

Improving the Child Welfare Workforce
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The percentage of professionals surveyed who said these 10 factors are “very important” to the successful recruitment, preparation, support and retention of public and private child welfare staff.

Source: Improving the Child Welfare Workforce: Lessons Learned from Class Action Litigation, National Youth Law Center, 2007.

A lot of people have wondered whether class action lawsuits against child welfare agencies do any good for youth in the long run. (See “13 Lawsuits That Reformed (or Drained) Child Welfare,” September 2004). In this report, two of the organizations that have brought many of those lawsuits look at the impact of their work and say: Yes.

They say litigation by themselves and others has served as a catalyst to increase child welfare resources and address work force issues such as caseload size, training and retention. The report, funded by Cornerstones for Kids, analyzes the experiences in 12 jurisdictions that had child welfare litigation settlements or consent decrees that required work force improvements. Those places are Arkansas, Utah, Maryland, Illinois, Tennessee, Milwaukee, New Mexico, Connecticut, Alabama, and Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Broward County, Fla. Free. 116 pages. (510) 835-8098, http://www.youthlaw.org/child_welfare.