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REAL STORIES FROM THE FIELD

The Real Stories project is a multimedia collection of workforce development stories from students, faculty, and child welfare professionals at all levels. Each project provides unique, first-person insight into the impact that NCWWI initiatives and partnerships are having on workforce and child welfare practice across the country. Use these stories for lunch & learns, training, team discussions and more! 

Want to use these stories to inspire a rich discussion about innovative workforce development initiatives? Download the Real Stories Tool Kit which details the topics and themes of each story, along with questions to inspire critical thinking and guide a thoughtful discussion. 

 

all-onUPLADDLAMMLASWEreal Map

 

NEW ~ University Partnerships
YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE: A CHILD WELFARE STIPEND PROGRAM

Podcast100.fwJennifer Gerber thought it was impossible to complete a master’s degree while juggling the demands of a child welfare career. In this podcast episode hear how support from a traineeship program through the University of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Department of Children, Youth, and Families helped her achieve her goal to earn an advanced degree and learn how to better serve children and families.

 

Workforce Excellence & Leadership Academy for Deans and Directors
CREATING CHANGE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

Podcast100.fwThe decision to embrace a system-wide workforce development approach may come from agency leaders, but sometimes the best ideas to deliver and sustain change can come from staff directly serving on the frontlines of child welfare. In this podcast episode, hear how frontline child welfare professionals were empowered to design solutions that improved office culture, partnerships, and outcomes for the children and families they serve.

 

University Partnerships
CHILD WELFARE SCHOLARS

Podcast100.fwWhen state and local child welfare agencies collaborate with schools of social work, the results can benefit both parties by properly preparing future—and current—child welfare professionals and helping ensure curricula remains topical and relevant to the current needs of the field. This podcast, developed in collaboration with the Child Welfare Information Gateway, showcases a NCWWI university-agency partnership between the University of North Dakota Department of Social Work and the North Dakota Department of Children and Family Services. The Child Welfare Scholars program funds B.S.W. and M.S.W. trainees who are current members of the child welfare workforce. This funding aims to help social work students grow their leadership and practice skills, help meet the increased child welfare demands of the state, and provide direct feedback for the university to shape its curriculum.

    

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
A STATES APPROACH TO CHANGE

Podcast100.fwThis podcast, developed in collaboration with the Child Welfare Information Gateway, shares an example of how one state changed its approach to staff development, as well as provides insight on the “must-haves” and lessons learned in moving away from isolated interventions and toward a targeted and cohesive strategy. We tell the story of how the Connecticut Department of Children and Families improve its workforce by: (1) using outcome data to identify the specific staff attributes and technical barriers to address; (2) engaging and receiving buy-in from partner agencies and organizations; and (3) applying implementation science and assistance from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute to improve manager and supervisor leadership.

 

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
LEARNING, LEADING, AND CHANGING

Video100.fwFor decades, the approach to workforce issues in child welfare was crisis-driven. Workers were not sufficiently supported, and states struggled to meet outcomes. In 2008, this began to change when the Children’s Bureau funded the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI). By bringing together tribes, states, agencies, and universities in partnership, NCWWI has transformed the field by developing purposeful interventions that have the workforce at the forefront of sustainable change. View to learn how NCWWI has accomplished this in their purposeful approach.

 

Leadership Academy for Supervisors
CHANGING SUPERVISION LENSES: ZOOMING IN AND OUT

Video100.fwEffective supervisors must zoom in and out to get the full picture of any situation. Twan Stokes from Indiana Department of Child Services wanted to do something about the big issue of retention and she did it by zooming in and developing a mentor appreciation day. Learn more about her leadership journey and how it started when she participated in the Leadership Academy for Supervisors.

  

Leadership Academy for Deans and Directors
LEADING THROUGH UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF LIFE STORIES

Video100.fwUnderstanding the personal journey – or context - that leads people to a career in child welfare is an important part of being an effective leader. This story explores how the Director of Missouri’s Children’s Division has shaped his leadership style around understanding the life stories of workers.

 

Leadership Academy for Middle Managers
WHEN PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY

Podcast100.fwAnne Graham, a child welfare middle manager from New Hampshire, developed a much needed change initiative during her participation in the LAMM. Although her project addressed a serious gap in worker pre-service training, it took several years until she was able influence and enact change. This story explains how her preparation met the opportunity to be realized.

 

Workforce Excellence
WORKFORCE EXCELLENCE IN MISSOURI

 Video100.fwThe Missouri Children’s Division faced big challenges prior to 2014. Too many children were in out-of-home care, child welfare workers approached practice inconsistently, and the state was plagued by high staff turnover rates. This is the story of how the Division collaborated on a Workforce Excellence project to design and implement a new practice model to address these issues.


University Partnerships
A NEW FRONTIER FOR  CHILD WELFARE IN RURAL NORTH DAKOTA

Video100.fwAs an MSW student at the University of North Dakota, Skye Albert received a NCWWI traineeship that sent her to work in a rural part of the state that was facing a child welfare crisis. Skye not only tackled the unique challenges facing the county, but inspired her MSW program to re-think how they prepare students to work in the field.

 

University Partnerships
THE POWER OF DATA FOR LEARNING AND CHANGING

Podcast100.fwThis is the story of 3 graduate students from the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare who were able to connect their research to practice through their NCWWI traineeships. After their research uncovered areas for improving local practice, they presented their findings to a group of managers from the field, who were compelled to act on what the students had found.

 

Leadership Academy for Middle Managers
FOR MISSOURI FIELD SUPPORT MANAGER. IT'S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Article.fwDana Jones, a Field Support and Training Manager in Missouri, was facing high staff turnover rates and an over-stressed child welfare system in her region. Through the LAMM, she developed a change initiative that has made a big impact on worker satisfaction, and ultimately, outcomes for children and families.

 

Leadership Academy for Deans and Directors
WEAVING TOGETHER AGENCY STAFF AROUND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE

Video100.fwCherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare faced big challenges to move their agency forward. NCWWI signed on to assist and to do so had to change the way they operated, too. Together they faced these challenges to make a difference for children and families.