Today’s social workers work within a bureaucracy that overworks them, underpays them and fails to provide adequate support and training. As a result, many of the children they are tasked with helping do not receive the attention they need and do not get the services they require. The endangerment of children leads many of us to blame the social workers. Social workers are the easy target of our concerns and anger, while the larger child welfare services bureaucracy is let off the hook.
In this essay, School of Social Policy & Practice experts Antonio Garcia and Christina DeNard mindfully discuss the social work bureaucracy, the scope of its problems as well as solutions that can be implemented. They also explore how political elections can positively impact social workers and subsequently, the safety of children under their supervision.
What You Need to Know
- The social worker’s average caseload often exceeds the recommended level, frequently by double or more.
- Case workers work in agencies that do not provide adequate training.
- Social welfare agencies face high staff turnover rates.
- Many social agencies face budget crises and hiring freezes and cannot recruit qualified applicants.
- Federal funding for child welfare services has declined during the last 20 years.
- Reallocate funding to implement innovative and effective programs.
- Provide more training to help case workers properly screen and assess need and understand effective treatment strategies.
- Fight for more court oversight to ensure case management follows existing federal policy.
- Introduce better decision-making tools to get more minority children access to much needed mental health services.
- Allocate more funding to preventative services and programs.
- Provide social workers more job support.