NCWWI Workforce Excellence Site Overview:

Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services (AR DCFS)
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR)

NCWWI Workforce Excellence Initiative 

The AR DCFS Workforce Excellence project vision is “a diverse, courageous, and empowered team of individuals working together to improve outcomes for children and families. We are united. We are invested. We are community-driven. We are world-changers.” In partnership with NCWWI and UALR, the AR DCFS is working toward their WE project vision by focusing on four priorities:

  1. Staff recruitment and selection
  2. Worker safety
  3. Supervisory support and training
  4. Racial equity and inclusion

Key Assessment Findings

Strengths include:

  • Staff are committed to serving children and families with innovative and best practices.
  • A teamwork-oriented supportive culture.
  • Dedication to enriching staff practice and support through training and resources.

Challenges include:

  • High levels of time pressure, job stress, and work-related burnout.
  • Need to improve supervisory support and training.
  • Lack of dialogue around racial equity and inclusion.

Implementation Activities

  • The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has awarded stipends to 5 students. 4 have graduated.
  • Delivered NCWWI Leadership Academy that included training 10 Leadership Academy Coaches and 3 Trainers. 11 supervisors in the first training cohort completed the program.
  • Implementation Team and Leadership Teams meet regularly to advance the work.
  • 3 Action Teams meet bimonthly and focus on developing and implementing strategies that address racial equity, supervision, and worker safety.

Strategies Overview

  • Addressing racial equity through:
    • Developing common language, communication plans, and training across DCFS.
    • Creating a more equitable and inclusive climate for staff and clients.
  • Working with DCFS hiring managers to identify sustainable strategies for recruitment and selection.
  • Considering safety interventions to address stress reduction, de-escalation, and/or self-defense.
  • Identifying supervision interventions to support worker safety, including updating the supervisor handbook.
  • Identifying diverse DCFS staff with a future in leadership and investing in education, workplace supports, and a career track through BSW stipends and support.


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