Philadelphia Child Welfare Workforce Task Force Issues Report
PCCYFS convened the Philadelphia Child Welfare Workforce Task Force to discuss challenges, findings, and recommendations to alleviate the workforce challenges that have frustrated Philadelphia’s child welfare providers and system. The …
PCCYFS convened the Philadelphia Child Welfare Workforce Task Force to discuss challenges, findings, and recommendations to alleviate the workforce challenges that have frustrated Philadelphia’s child welfare providers and system. The task force met for a series of meetings organized according to the following topic areas: Funding Solutions, Face of the Crisis, Data and Economic Impact, Professional Development, and System Improvements.
The bulk of the recommendations in the report were driven by responses to our Philadelphia child welfare provider worker survey, which yielded 281 responses. A few key findings and other noteworthy points:
- The single most prominent point of feedback from the survey was the need for an increased provider per diem to better compensate our workers. The report also shows a comparison of salaries among CUA and Philadelphia DHS workers as well as looks at salaries of social workers in other fields, such as healthcare and education. The results show a stark contrast in the salaries available to social work graduates in other fields and the disparity between providers and the ongoing salary increases available to City workers.
- According to workers: 44 percent of CUA and foster care provider respondents reported having a second job to supplement their income.
- 77 percent of respondents disagreed when asked if they feel they are compensated (salary/pay, benefits, paid time off (PTO), etc.) fairly for their work.
- And, when asked for the top five factors that have made workers consider leaving this profession, 80.1 percent – the overwhelming majority of respondents – cited inadequate pay, which exceeded the next most popular reason by almost 40 percent.
- Workers are overwhelmed, especially in light of the ongoing staff turnover, by documentation and crushing caseloads. In addition to rates to support appropriate caseloads and onboarding, the task force also formed recommendations around the need for a “bullpen” of caseworkers when turnover inevitably occurs, as well as the need to re-evaluate components of the Philadelphia DHS audit tool, a document-intensive practice that workers have cited as a reason for leaving their positions.
- The report recommends the development of an ongoing, systemwide discussion to help stabilize referrals and the quality of placement options, especially in light of the strain that the current 24-hour system has on workers and the number of placement disruptions the system has recently experienced.
- And the report includes recommendations for quality professional development opportunities for child welfare workers and flexibility in credential requirements to help with ongoing recruitment.
- The report also looks at what has been keeping workers who have chosen to stay. Many cited the importance and meaning behind the work that they do and showed appreciation for employer flexibility.
While this report and the task force focused on Philadelphia, these workforce challenges plague our colleagues throughout Pennsylvania as well as nationwide; one could lift any of these recommendations, especially the ones around salary, and they would still ring true for almost any county.
Read the full report here.