About This Program
Target Population: Graduating Bachelor-level students, recent Bachelor- or Master-level graduates, young professionals, career changers, individuals looking to start a career that makes a difference for children and families
Children’s Corps is designed to be a workforce capacity-building program that supports the frontline child welfare workforce and improves the retention rate. Children’s Corps takes a holistic approach that addresses the many reasons for turnover among caseworkers by using a 3-pronged model: 1) Strategic Recruitment & Selection, 2) Comprehensive Preservice Training, and 3) On-going Support and Professional Development. Each component has several elements and can be adapted to fit any child welfare jurisdiction. The Children’s Corps program includes a large recruitment component but only selects a certain number of participants based on the position needs of the local child welfare agencies (public or private). These agencies partner with the Children’s Corps program and hire the selected Children’s Corps members to fill frontline vacancies. It is understood that Children’s Corps participants will commit a minimum of 2 years to the Children’s Corps program and to the child welfare agency once they are hired, though the goal is to retain them longer since at least one study has shown that having more than one caseworker significantly lowers the chance of achieving permanency for the child.
During these two years, the Children’s Corps offers ongoing support to its recruited members. The Children’s Corps program stands outside of the local child welfare agency. Being operated separately is important for the support component to work more effectively for the Children’s Corps members. The program works closely with the local child welfare agency, its culture and dynamics. It is hoped that Children’s Corps alumni will continue to work at their agencies or other social service organizations, seek relevant graduate degrees, and/or continue to develop themselves as strong professionals in this field.
The goals of Children’s Corps are:
- Improve retention of frontline child welfare workers
- Improve outcomes for children and families
- Create future leaders in the field
The essential components of Children’s Corps include:
- Designed to be a separate entity from the child welfare agency with which it is partnering; however the program is flexible in this part of its design to fit the needs of other jurisdictions
- Recruitment & Selection Activities:
- Recruit nationwide by posting the job position at hundreds of colleges/universities
- Present at most of the local campuses through career fairs and information sessions
- Conduct extensive outreach to recruitment outlets via phone, email, and in-person presentations
- Build partnerships with national and local service programs
- Use of a competency-based method of recruitment and selection
- Use of a competency-based application and interview scoring rubrics
- Use of various realistic job previews to use throughout recruitment, application, and interview processes
- Implement a comprehensive interview process to thoroughly assess candidates including group interview, case review, standard interview, case inquiry, and case write-up
- Use of behavioral interviewing techniques
- Preservice Summer Training includes:
- A 4-week training program to build foundational skills, knowledge, and awareness on a variety of topics including:
- Child welfare policy
- Safety & risk
- Family court
- Domestic violence
- Mental health
- Intentional team building and development of a support network
- Shadowing at child welfare agency where they will work is regularly scheduled throughout training
- Ongoing Support includes:
- Monthly support meetings for training and problem solving:
- Curriculum for support meetings based on a bi-annual needs assessments of the current Children’s Corps members
- Common components of the curriculum include:
- Time management
- Working with difficult clients
- Special education
- Social events such as the holiday party
- A career night to look at ways you can build a career from frontline work
- Individual staff support and guidance
- Peer-to-peer support
- Professional mentorship opportunities
- Online resource group access
- Monthly newsletters and surveys to assess workload and ability to manage
- Career and graduate school guidance
- Children’s Corps also offers support to partner agencies through feedback, data sharing, and training
- Children’s Corps Program Staffing:
- 3 program staff including a Director and at least two Program Specialists who manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the recruitment, preservice training, and ongoing support. They are responsible for:
- Recruitment outreach and presentations
- Application reading and scoring
- Interview coordination
- Training preparation and implementation
- Coordination of all on-going support methods
- Nurturing the relationship with the local child welfare agencies and schools of social work
- Staffing also includes a portion of the CEO and Director of Programs time for technical assistance and oversight from the NYC office.
- Organizational Partnerships:
- Local child welfare agency (private or public) to help recruit and subsequently support workers for their agency and potentially provide conference room space as needed
- A local Social Work School for the summer training program (resources of where to look for affordable housing during the 4 weeks is given to participants) and potentially for conference room space for the monthly support group meetings and day-long interviews
- Local funders
- Any other service providers that affect child welfare system, such as mental health, education, substance abuse, etc.
The interview process includes a 1.5-hour group interview and a 2-hour individual interview. The Summer Training Academy is full-time, five days a week for 4 weeks. The on-going support includes a monthly 3-hour meeting, monthly newsletters, and email, phone, or in-person meetings as needed.
2-year commitment to the program, their agency of employment, and the families with whom they work
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Department of Social Services
This program does not include a homework component.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
4-6 personnel, office space, and a strong ability to leverage partnerships with private/public provider agencies and schools of social work for larger meeting and training spaces
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
Preferably master’s level degree in social work and/or experience working in child welfare
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.
- Liv Anna Homstead, Director of Programs
Training is obtained:
Training on the entire program or one of its components is provided onsite at Children’s Corps or can be brought to other regions.
Number of days/hours:
Will be determined based on agency needs
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Children's Corps.
Blustain, R. (2014, January 7). Looking after the welfare of child welfare workers. Retrieved from http://citylimits.org/2014/01/07/looking-after-the-welfare-of-child-welfare-workers/#.Us8c4_Z56gP
Center for the Study of Social Policy. (2009). A Children’s Services Corps: Lessons from Teach for America for building the child welfare workforce. Retrieved from http://www.cssp.org/publications/child-welfare/child-welfare-misc/a-children_s-services-corps-lessons-from-teach-for-america-for-building-the-child-welfare-workforce.pdf
University of Southern Maine, Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service. (2008). Recruitment and selection of child welfare staff. Augusta, Maine: Author.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2017
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2017
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2017