Staying Power! Selection Toolkit

About This Program

Target Population: Supervisors and managers in public, tribal, and private child welfare agencies.

Program Overview

The Staying Power! Selection Toolkit is designed to help child welfare supervisors and managers select qualified and committed child welfare workers. The Staying Power! Selection Toolkit contains a Realistic Job Preview DVD and a competency-based selection process. It is a product that emerged from the Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention: An Evidence-Based Training Model Project.

Program Goals

The goal of the Staying Power! Selection Toolkit is:

  • Increase the ability to select qualified child welfare staff

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Staying Power! Selection Toolkit.

Essential Components

The essential components of Staying Power! Selection Toolkit include:

  • Selection Process:
    • Realistic Job Preview (33 minutes):
      • A support person has the candidate watch a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) DVD that features interviews with actual public child welfare workers who talk about the challenges and rewards of their work, providing a balanced and realistic overview of day-to-day experiences in a variety of child welfare positions.
    • Preparation for Written Exercise (30 minutes):
      • The support person has the candidate review a folder of materials about a typical case in child welfare.
      • The information in the folder should be intentionally incomplete.
      • The support person tells the candidate that they will need to gather more information in order to write a case analysis at the end of the interview based on this case.
      • The support person gives the candidate time to review the case material and take notes in preparation for being able to ask further questions.
    • Standard Interview (45 minutes):
      • A Selection Team includes at least three team members of managers and supervisors and may include child welfare workers and a member of the agency's youth advisory group.
      • A selection team Facilitator appoints a time-keeper and a resource person for the Fact-finding Interview
      • The Facilitator also begins each round of questioning and facilitates the selection team's consensus scoring discussions.
      • During this first part of the interview, the selection team asks prepared questions of the candidate in order to screen for competencies.
      • The selection team also gives the candidate time to ask questions about the job.
    • Fact-finding Interview (15 minutes):
      • During the second phase of the interview, the selection team provides an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions about the incomplete case materials from the written exercise.
      • One individual on the selection team, called the Resource Person, who has additional case information fields the candidate’s questions, while other team members observe and assess the process.
    • Written Exercise (30 minutes):
      • The selection team asks the candidate to write an analysis of the case based on both the materials provided in the folder and information gathered in the fact-finding interview.
      • This analysis can be written on a computer, in order to judge the candidate's computer skills, or by hand.
      • This analysis is then evaluated by the selection team for demonstration of certain competencies.
      • The selection team collects all materials and notes from the candidate at the end of the Written Exercise.
    • Selection Team Rating of Candidates (40 minutes):
      • Each selection team member rates the candidate's performance on the Standard Interview and the Fact-finding Interview at the end of each full interview.
      • Team members score, individually, each candidate's written exercise
      • Each component should be rated separately using rating sheets provided in the toolkit.
      • The selection team should arrive at a consensus score for each competency.
      • The summary composite score is calculated and becomes the final score for the candidate.
    • Scheduling multiple candidates:
      • Sample selection schedules are in the Toolkit that show how 3 or 4 candidates can go through the selection process in one day.
  • Administrative Support:
    • Welcome:
      • A designated support person welcomes the candidate to the agency and escorts candidate to a room for viewing the RJP (optional) and reading the case study.
      • The support person provides the candidate a copy of information about the selection process and a summary of the schedule.
      • The support person helps the candidate transition from one part of the selection process to another.
    • RJP and Case Review:
      • The support person starts the RJP and returns after 30 minutes to turn off the machine.
      • The support person gives the candidate the folder containing the case study materials and the Case Analysis Outline.
      • The support person returns to the room in 30 minutes, accompanies the candidate to the interview room, and introduces the candidate to the selection team.
    • Written Exercise:
      • At the end of the full interview hour, the support person returns to the interview room and escorts the candidate to the room selected for the written exercise.
      • The support person instructs the candidate to use a computer or write by hand and reminds the candidate that the written exercise will be completed in 30 minutes.
      • The support person returns in 30 minutes and collects all case study materials, candidate notes, and the completed Case Analysis.
      • The support person escorts the candidate to the exit.
      • The support person provides a copy of the Case Analysis for each selection team member and all the materials and notes from each candidate.

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

Each candidate in this process will be engaged for a total of 2 hours and 33 minutes. The selection team will be directly engaged with the candidate for one hour. Additional time of approximately 40 minutes will be needed for scoring each candidate's performance and, finally, for making the hiring decision.

Recommended Duration:

As described above, the length of the actual selection process depends on the number of applicants to be interviewed by the selection team. Prior to actual interviews, however, the training and preparation of the selection teams include development of case materials.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

For the selection process itself, the interview team must have rooms available for showing the RJP, allowing the case study review, conducting the standard and fact-finding interviews, and a room for the candidate to complete the written exercise, with a computer. The selection team should designate a Coordinator, a timekeeper and a fact-finding interview resource person. There should also be a support person to facilitate each candidate's progression through the selection process. The selection team also needs a secure room within which to complete the Child Welfare Worker Selection Rating Sheet for each candidate.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Supervisors and managers with a minimum of 1 year experience (preferably 2 years) and child welfare workers with 3 years of experience.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Dickinson, N.S. (2009). Staying Power! Selection Toolkit: A Product of the R&R Project Child Welfare Staff Recruitment & Retention, An Evidence-Based Training Model. Jordan Institute for Families, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Provided at the agency location. Training for selection team members will require 2 trainers who are independent personnel contracted by the agencies to provide the training (see below for list), a training room, A/V equipment (PowerPoint projector and screen, video equipment), copies of the Staying Power! Selection Toolkit, rating sheets, case materials, scoring guides, resource materials for each trainee, and a realistic job preview (video or written scenarios)

Number of days/hours:

2-3 days

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Evelyn Williams (

Deb Ryals (

Scott Montgomery (

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Staying Power! Selection Toolkit.

Additional References

Dickinson, N. S. (2009). Staying Power! Selection Toolkit: A product of the R&R Project Child Welfare Staff Recruitment & Retention, An evidence-based training model. Jordan Institute for Families, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Retrieved from

Dickinson, N. S., & Painter, J. S. (2011). An experimental study of child welfare worker turnover. Proceedings of the 14th Annual National Human Services Training Evaluation Symposium. Berkeley, CA: California Social Work Education Center.

Kessel, B., Eby, L., Pittman, A., & Bernotavicz, B. (2011, December 14). Competency-based recruitment, screening & selection: Strengthening workforce capacity, retention & organizational resiliency [Webinar]. Retrieved from

Contact Information

Nancy Dickinson, PhD, MSSW
Agency/Affiliation: University of Maryland School of Social Work and the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Phone: (410) 706-3740

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2017