Center for Research July 2017

A key part of an ongoing effort between the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Wayne State University School of Social Work involves developing initiatives that seek to increase retention of the child welfare workforce. The Wayne Together Workforce Development Committee including DHHS administrators, supervisors, and WSU professors and staff has examined workforce conditions, potential strategies and evidence-based research to address retention. After careful review, the committee agreed to focus on building and enhancing supervisor capacity for strengths-based supervision.

The committee selected strengths-based supervision built on the research and experience of Dr. Cynthia Lietz (Arizona State University) because it engages all three roles of supervision including administrative, educational and supportive supervision. The model uses family-centered/parallel practice principles, which enhance the transference of practice from supervisor to worker and worker to client. Effective supervision is linked to improvements in caseworker decision-making on the safety, permanency and wellbeing of child welfare-involved children and families.

The first of a two-day training was conducted with supervisors in each of the district offices, followed by email messages to reinforce content.  The picture below shows Professor Joanne Sobeck, Dr. Cynthia Leitz and Assistant Professor Megan Piel (left to right) and one of the training groups from DHHS (photo above). A second day of training is scheduled for late June at the School of Social Work and an evaluation is being conducted to assess impacts on child welfare staff and supervisor competencies. 


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