Qualitative Analysis of Workforce Expert Interviews

The purpose of the QIC-EY workforce interviews was to uncover current efforts by child welfare professionals to authentically engage children and youth in permanency planning as well as to identify any barriers that stymie this goal. Fifteen professionals were interviewed representing all tiers of work, including supervisors, administrators and frontline caseworkers.

Three key highlights from the workforce interviews include the value of engagement with children and youth and the need for more training and resources.

Workers Value Youth Engagement

The interviews demonstrated a very reassuring fact that efforts are being made towards engaging with children and youth and, most importantly, this goal is valued. Professionals agree that it is important to engage children and youth in an effort to create an environment of self-empowerment for young people who may otherwise feel as though they have no ability to control their future outcomes. It is critical to overcome that sense of helplessness as a central part in engaging youth as partners in planning that can lead to healthy personal outcomes.

Training is Desired

Professionals did identify hindrances to fully executing this critical aspect of their work including a lack of training, in particular in the area of cultural awareness but also in areas surrounding communication and trust building. Other practical hindrances included time; here professionals reflected on the dearth of resources that child welfare systems battle and the impact on professionals’ ability to create the meaningful relationships needed for genuine and successful engagement of children and youth.

More Resources are Needed

Workers identified the need to enhance their own skill set while also needing external support to allow the time needed to effectively engage with children and youth. This aspect of the report highlights the need for a multitiered approach to implementing successful changes in this area, including making changes to the structural and environmental setting within which child welfare professionals engage in their work.

Most importantly, professionals agree engagement is a critical component of their work which is a needed first step towards change. With training and tools, child welfare professionals across disciplines can more effectively partner with children and youth to create viable and meaningful permanency plans that provide life-long health and stability.

Related Expert Interviews

All of the expert interviews within QIC-EY’s Environmental Scan help to uncover current efforts by an array of diverse child welfare professionals to authentically engage children and youth in permanency planning as well as to identify any barriers that might get in the way. Each report helps to put a sharper focus on the importance of youth engagement as well as the challenges and opportunities facing professionals today.  Reading through these reports as individuals or as a team can help to validate what might be happening for professionals and offer inspiration for how the work of engagement can continue to improve over time.

Qualitative Analysis of Tribal Child Welfare Expert Interviews
Qualitative Analysis of Legal Expert Interviews
Expert Interviews: People with Lived Expertise

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