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

NCJ Number
Julie Farber; Sara Munson
Date Published
February 2007
116 pages
This report examines how class action litigation can be used to improve the child welfare workforce.
This report presents the results of an examination of efforts to improve the child welfare workforce through the use of class action litigation. The National Center for Youth Law, in collaboration with Children's Rights, reviewed efforts aimed at strengthening the child welfare workforce through class action litigation undertaken in 12 jurisdictions across the country. Key stakeholders from these jurisdictions were interviewed about provisions related to workforce issues that were included in court orders resulting from the litigation. The interviews revealed a number of issues: 1) while progress has been made, there is still work that needs to be done; 2) improvements would not have been made without the litigation or the improvements would not have been as significant; 3) only moderate improvements were made to staff incentives, and the issue of staff turnovers was not successfully addressed; and 4) it was noted that some improvements were difficult to sustain with leadership changes and the changing political and social climate. Interviews with the stakeholders also resulted in a number of suggestions for improving the child welfare workforce. These suggestions were combined into a set of recommendations that are discussed in this report. The recommendations are separated into two categories: those that address ways to enhance the process of reforming the child welfare workforce, and actual substantive reform strategies. Tables, appendixes, and references