Children’s Corps links individuals who are passionate about supporting and strengthening families to a full-time position at agencies within the New York City child welfare system. Members of Children’s Corps gain competency and skills development through an intensive pre-service training and on-going support that enhances their work within the system.
WHAT IS THE NEED?
The need for strong caseworkers is one of the most pressing issues facing the child welfare system, both within NYC and on a national level. When effective strategies for worker recruitment, training, and support are not in place, the impact is felt on multiple levels, including by children and families as well as by frontline staff.
Children and families affected by the foster care system need the caseworker assisting them to be stable, consistent and well trained.
- 9,000 children in NYC were affected by the foster care system in 2017.
- 15% of children discharged from foster care in NYC leave without a permanent family
- Children with one caseworker end up connected with an unconditional and permanent family in 74.5% of cases. But the more caseworkers involved in a child’s life, the less chance that child has to achieve permanency,
Caseworkers need continuous training and support while working in child welfare.
Approximately 3 out of every 5 caseworkers in NYC leaves their position within a year.
Turnover occurs for a variety of reasons. Child welfare caseworkers can experience high caseloads, exposure to secondary trauma, and challenging agency environments.
Research has shown that strong coworker relationships and a sense of community can mitigate the effects of some of these workforce stressors.
HOW DOES CHILDREN'S CORPS ADDRESS THE NEED?
Across the nation, key players in the child welfare field have identified some strategies for addressing caseworker turnover, including strategic recruitment and selection, comprehensive training, and systems for support. At Children’s Corps, we integrate these practices into a “three-pronged approach”:
Children’s Corps partners with multiple New York City and Westchester County, NY child welfare agencies that employ members for a minimum of 2-years.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF CHILDREN'S CORPS?
Since Children’s Corps began in 2011, the program has achieved some notable results:
Improving caseworker retention rates: The Children’s Corps average retention rate after one year is 81%, compared to the New York City average retention rate of 60-65%.
Improving opportunities and outcomes for children and families: Children’s Corps members and alumni impact the lives of thousands of children and families throughout New York City and beyond.
Creating future leaders in child welfare:
Children’s Corps alumni continue to effect change through a variety of professional tracks including policy, legal, clinical, social entrepreneurship, agency administration, and academia.