HB 1631 notes the high stress job of child welfare case workers as well as organizational barriers, all of which can lead to high turnover among that workforce.
High turnover rates are costly to the state and have adverse effects on child and family outcomes. They also result in less experienced supervisors and other positions of leadership within the child welfare system.
The legislature intends to build a well-trained, well-supported, technologically competent, more effective child welfare workforce to better meet the needs of vulnerable children and families in Washington state.
Also, child welfare workers who experience secondary, work-related trauma should be given the necessary support to process intense emotional events and the tools to build resiliency.
This act includes supports for the child welfare field that will improve and help retain these individuals.
Specific provisions include:
· lowering caseload staffing to the Braam standard of 1:18;
· adding reflective supervision principles to the child welfare division of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCF);
· creating and implementing an new evidence-based curriculum for supervisors;
· developing specialized training for child welfare workers that includes simulation and coaching; and
· creating dedicated positions to assist with the caseload of other child welfare workers that need to take leave or a reduction in caseload following a critical incident.
DCYF shall provide a report that includes a description of the workload model and relevant steps the department is taking to implement to committees of the legislature by December 1, 2019.
The technical work group established in this law will continue to meet and provide an annual report to committees of the legislature by December 1st of each year regarding any recommended modifications to the workload model and steps the department is taking to implement those changes.