Date of Conferral





Human Services


Dr. Pamela Denning


High turnover of child welfare workers is a problem to the children and families that receive services and the child welfare organizations that lose their staff. For children and their families, turnover of their assigned worker may interrupt their ability to achieve their permanency goals. Child welfare organizations encounter high costs for hiring staff due to the turnover and the staff that remain suffer with higher caseloads and not being able to provide the quality of services that they should be able to offer. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of child welfare workers who remained with the same employer for 3 years or more. The conceptual framework consisted of 2 theories: organizational climate and organizational culture theory. Two focus groups, consisting of 3 participants from an urban community and 5 participants from a rural community, were used. A snowball sampling method was used to obtain the sample. A content analysis was conducted to discover major and minor themes. This study revealed that 5 factors contribute toward retention: a) caseload size; b) educational background and training; c) recruitment, screening, and selection; d) supervisory support; and e) peer support were supported by all 8 participants. In addition, a new factor of self-care emerged as a result of this study. While all the child welfare workers experienced all the factors that could have resulted in their turnover, due to implementation of self-care techniques they ended up remaining from 3 years to 13 years. Exploring self-care as an answer toward retention is worth exploring and can contribute toward social change in the field of child welfare.