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2007 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 12, No. 1
January 2007

Study: Improve Retention by Giving New Workers Cases Gradually

In a new study, Weaver, Chang, and Gil de Gibaja (2006) suggest there is at least one relatively simple, inexpensive, effective strategy agencies can use to hang on to their child welfare workers.

Forty-four of California’s 58 counties participated in the study, which examined both workers’ intent to leave and actual rates of turnover. Potential subjects for the study were all new public child welfare workers hired in California between April 2000 and April 2001. Final turnover data were collected from each study county from June to August 2003.

Contrary to some earlier studies (e.g., Rycraft, 1994), Weaver and colleagues found that caseload size does not seem to be related to turnover. However, they did find newly hired workers who were allowed more time to get used to child welfare work before being given a full caseload were much more likely to remain on the job than new workers who were quickly given full caseloads. The authors note that this is an important and unexpected result of the study, and indicates a change in practice that can be implemented by administrators immediately, at relatively little cost.

To read the other findings of this study, which are described in a training module called The Retention of Child Welfare Workers, go to <http://www.csulb.edu/projects/ccwrl/Weaver_module.pdf>.