CB Spotlight on Child Welfare Leadership

The most rewarding aspect
of working in the Bureau are the people who work here. The people that I get
to work with every day. They are some of the most
intelligent, thoughtful, talented people I’ve ever met. The most impressive quality is
the absolute respect and regard that they show for the children
and families we serve and our grantees and the people
who work in this program at the local level
on a day-to-day basis. People here have the expertise, they’ve done
the day-to-day work. But at the same time, they’re
not bound by tradition or yesterday’s notions of
what practice should look like. I’ve been impressed with how
people in this office look at, you know, what we learn
from the people we serve. That teaches us
how to serve them better. That helps us understand what
the people on the ground need on a day-to-day basis in order
to improve the lives of kids and families, because
it’s clear to us that that’s what they’re about. Facilitating the best that
people can produce in the field, to me, is the best kind
of leadership that you can show. And I think people here are
very committed to that and very successful
at doing that. We’ve learned over
the last few years the critical importance
of leadership in child welfare. We’ve seen that when leaders
come and go, it really impacts the outcomes for children
and families and impacts the State’s ability to implement
change and to improve outcomes. We found that that
was really an important factor, so we funded a National Child
Welfare Workforce Institute that really focuses
on leadership at both the middle manager
and at the supervisor level to help build those capacities
and to support the workforce in child welfare
around the leadership issues. Being a child welfare worker
is a very important job, and I think it’s really
critical that we figure out how to support workers, how
to support their supervisors, how to support their managers, and to make sure they’ve
got the resources– not just financial, but
that they’ve got the programs that work, they understand the
evidence behind those programs, that they’re supported and have
the educational opportunities. The Children’s Bureau works with
universities across the country in developing their social work
curricula so it really reflects the needs of
the child welfare workforce, especially
in the area of leadership. We have an opportunity
to support innovation, to fund grants
that are moving the field, to initiate national initiatives
that support not just one State but States across the country
in improving their outcomes. And that’s exciting, it’s
rewarding, it’s challenging, but at the end of the day,
you really feel you’ve made an impact. You’ve helped children. You’ve helped families through your work
with States, with Tribes.

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