Lwin, K., Fallon, B., Trocmé, N., Fluke, J. et Mishna, F. (2018). A changing child welfare workforce: What worker characteristics are valued in child welfare? Child Abuse & Neglect, 81, 170-180.
A child welfare system is responsible for making difficult decisions. Child welfare workers are charged with assessing and determining when a child is in need of protection, including when it is necessary to intervene on behalf of children when their caregivers’ abilities and/or situation is deemed to put them at risk of abuse or neglect. Although the child welfare workforce in Ontario attended to an estimated 125,281 child maltreatment investigations in 2013, little is known about the skills, education, and experiences of these investigating workers. Notwithstanding assumptions about the qualifications and characteristics necessary for effective child welfare practice, few studies explicitly link the specific characteristics of workers to children, youth, and families achieving positive case outcomes. These assumptions have been shaped by a multitude of factors including knowledge of human resources, professional standards, and educational requriements. This study examined data from five cycles over twenty years of Ontario Incidence Studies (-1993, -1998, -2003, -2008, -2013) to provide a profile of child welfare workers. This is the first study to examine the changing profile of child welfare workers in any province in Canada and provides a foundation for developing effective recruitment and professional development strategies, and promoting a positive work environment. Policy and practice implications for the changing needs of these families are discussed.