(April 18) – The House gave overwhelming bipartisan approval this morning to an effort to get a handle on the alarmingly high rate of turnover among child welfare caseworkers.
The traumatic stress of regular exposure to young victims of violence and abuse reduces the average length of employment for child welfare workers to about three years and diminishes the performance of those caseworkers who remain. High caseworker turnover results in poorer outcomes for the children and their families, and social services agencies spend an average of $54,000 for training and other costs involved with hiring replacement workers.
HB17-1283, sponsored by Reps. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, creates a task force to identify resources needed to address the problem. The task force’s database would be made available to county child welfare agencies to develop “resiliency” programs to retain experienced caseworkers.
“Child welfare caseworkers see the tremendous value in the lives that they’re saving,” said Rep. Singer, who spent seven years working in county human services departments. “We need to help them deal with the emotional toll more effectively so they can continue their important work.”
On a 60-5 vote, HB17-1283 was sent to the Senate.