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2008 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 13, No. 2
March 2008

A Demographic Sketch of NC's Child Welfare Supervisors

Most of what we know about supervisors in North Carolina’s public child welfare agencies comes from two sources: periodic staffing surveys conducted by the NC Division of Social Services and North Carolina’s Family Support and Child Welfare Training Information Database.

2006 Staffing Survey
Ninety-nine of the state’s 100 county departments of social services responded to the Division’s most recent staffing survey. From this we know that in calendar year 2006 there were approximately 497 child welfare supervisor positions in our state, which means there was approximately one supervisory position for every 5.27 public child welfare social worker positions. This is slightly higher than the ratio of one supervisor for every five workers required by state standards. In truth, supervisor to worker ratios were probably even higher in some counties due to supervisor turnover—in calendar year 2006 the vacancy rate for supervisory positions was 17.5% (NCDSS, 2006).

Training Database
The Training Information Database tells us that between Jan. 16, 2003 and Dec. 20, 2007, 446 child welfare supervisors from 92 county DSS agencies registered to attend Cornerstone II: What’s Good for Families Is Good for Workers. Though the Database can’t tell us anything about the supervisors who did not register for this training, this registration data tell us a bit more about the demographics of NC’s child welfare supervisors.

Gender. Of the supervisors registered for this course, 83.4% were women and 16.6% were men. This is consistent with recent findings from the Brookings Institution; in its national survey of more than 800 human services workers 82% were women and 18% were men (Light, 2003).

Race. Of the supervisors registered for this course, 30.5% were Black and 66.3% were White. This suggests our supervisor workforce is roughly in line with the state of North Carolina as a whole, which the US Census estimates to be 21.6% Black and 70.2% White.

Education. Nearly all (99%) supervisors registered for this course had a degree from a four-year college. What’s more, nearly 47% had either a Bachelors or Masters degree in social work. This is a positive sign, since studies have found higher job performance and lower turnover rates among caseworkers with BSWs and MSWs (Albers, 1993; Dhooper, 1990).

References for this and other articles in this issue