2007 Jordan Institute
12, No. 1
What Is North Carolina Doing to Promote Retention?
How is North Carolina addressing employee retention in child welfare? Ours is a county run, state administered child welfare system, and so the honest—if unsatisfying—answer to this question is that county child welfare agencies are responding in different ways based on their unique needs and resources, and the NC Division of Social Services, the legislature, the universities, and their community partners are doing what they can to support them.
To get a more concrete picture of our state’s response to the retention crisis, it might be helpful to reflect back to the recent past. In 1999 representatives of North Carolina’s 27 Families for Kids and IV-E Waiver counties met to talk about the problem of turnover among child welfare staff. At that time they came up with more than a dozen ways to attack the problem. Their suggestions later appeared in Practice Notes (vol. 4, no. 3).
Fast forward to 2006, when the NC Association of County Directors of Social Services surveyed all 100 county child welfare agencies about recruitment and retention. Directors from 36 counties responded to the survey, the full results of which can be found at <www.ncacdss.org>.
The table below, which uses information from the Directors’ 2006 survey and other sources, sheds light on some of the system-level changes that have been made since 1999, highlights some agency-level strategies being applied today, and reveals areas where improvement may still be needed.