CWLA today released a new report on what direct service workers recommend for reforming the child welfare system. The rich expertise of frontline workers and supervisors informs the report, Direct Service Workers’ Recommendations for Child Welfare Financing and System Reform. Front line workers carry out the logistical process of furthering children’s safety, permanence and well-being and their input is critical for uncovering the strengths and weakness of the child welfare system. CWLA Government Affairs staff conducted a series of survey and focus group discussions with the workers and supervisors to assess the state of the child welfare system, inform our policy position on financing reform, and most importantly, include the direct service worker voice in the national discussion on refinancing child welfare.
Key recommendations focused on strengthening families, keeping children out of care and supporting the workforce. Direct services workers see the lack of support for families as the most pressing need in the child welfare system. They called for increased resources and services to keep families healthy and steady. Particularly, the survey participants would like to see new resources geared towards prevention services. In addition, support for the child welfare workforce was also recommended highly.
The survey itself was a combination of multiple-choice and open-ended questions completed through teleconference technology. Registration questions included basic demographic and workforce information. Teleconference questions focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the child welfare system. They were asked orally, with ample opportunity for clarification, feedback and nuanced comment.
This report is an important resource for advocates and legislators alike to move forward with child welfare refinancing in a way that best serves children and families.