History of the Program
Public child welfare services in the United States have long struggled with finding
and keeping well-prepared frontline workers. While there are many reasons
for this, key factors are the difficulty of the job, the lack of understanding of
what that job is all about and giving the new worker enough time to be prepared
for the challenges.
In 1996 the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services and the University
Training Consortium identified a breakthrough approach to this problem. Select BSW
Social Work Programs and the training division of DCBS designed a recruitment,
preparation and retention system that has produced exceptional outcomes. The program
which targets junior level BSW students provides tuition, a stipend and a special
concentration in public child welfare training including special practicums, retreats
and mentoring to the students for their final two years in the BSW program.
Since the PCWCP program's inception, over 800 well-prepared workers have
been added to the DCBS workforce. Retention for the PCWCP program is extremely good through
the second year of employment. Over the past 13 years the percent of graduates remain with
the Cabinet after two years of employment ranges between 79% and 88%. Further study of
the program has also indicated that these workers are better prepared for their
job and are not as overwhelmed by the difficulties.
Two elements are needed for the program: support of the agency for recruitment and
retention of workers and a solid partnership between the agency and university