Child Welfare Task Force

The Child Welfare Task Force met at the Fall NADD meeting with its expanded membership (26 people in attendance). The task force began to generate a list of issues and initiatives for consideration by deans and directors with regard to support for child welfare in our schools. A number of the issues and initiatives identified included: (1) maintaining a focus on the child welfare workforce — preparing for work in child welfare, recruiting for child welfare, and then retaining well qualified child welfare workers.

This area includes exploring models for child welfare training academies that are partnerships between agencies and schools, and the development and articulation of career paths within child welfare; (2) building funding for child welfare research. The group noted that federal funding for research through the Children’s Bureau has diminished and that the need for larger scale, innovative, and current-issue research is needed. (3) Articulating and building knowledge with regards to best practices in child welfare was prioritized. (4) Gaining financial support and incentives for child welfare work through stipend programs and loan forgiveness were also highlighted. And, (5) exploring the schools’ interest and role in such challenges as disproportionality of service need and provision, and exploring the role of privatization of child welfare services were also noted.

Ultimately, the group concluded that the support of a foundation or other entity, similar to the Hartford Foundation’s leadership in social work and gerontology, is needed to strengthen child welfare content in our schools, doctoral programs, and leadership in the field. This summer a child welfare NADD blog will be set up to encourage and record continuing observations, analyses, and experiences from deans and directors. Although there are multiple sources for communication related to child welfare, precisely identifying the role and place for school leaders is one of the challenges for this task force. Refining an agenda and developing action steps will emerge from these conversations both inside and outside of NADD so that a work plan can be presented to the task force at the spring NADD meeting.

Gary Anderson, Former Chair