Social work in foster care is exhausting, demanding, and emotionally draining on a good day. Social work within a foster agency can also be very rewarding, fulfilling, and inspiring to the men and women who dedicate their lives to children and families. Why is burnout at an all-time high? Why do Wisconsin foster agencies and social service organizations often have a revolving door of burned out, disgruntled employees? We can only presume to know because here at Community Care Resources, we have the opposite problem. Our Clinical Case Managers are dedicated members of a larger family and our foster agency would not be what it is today without these amazing men and women.
When turnover is high, the kids suffer, bouncing from foster home to foster home
Foster care and social service agencies are plagued with high employee turnover. Sadly, when caseworker turnover is high, foster parents are not supported and become frustrated. Often times they will request that kids are removed from their care and placed elsewhere or worse, they may stop fostering all together due to frustrations with the caseworkers and supervisors. Some foster parents will transfer to another agency or retire all together which leaves foster kids caught in the middle, bouncing from house to house. That leads to an overall belief in plentiful rumors that ALL foster care agencies struggle to keep employees. Believe us, that is simply not true. Our foster parents value and appreciate their case managers and rely on them for critical support.
CCR employee turnover is so low our employees can't remember how long they've been with their foster families. LOL
I am often asked why I have worked with Community Care Resources for so long. As much as I would like to have a lengthy and profound explanation, it is really quite simple. I stay because of the people. For over 25 years, I have had the privilege to work with and for some of the best people in the industry. I thoroughly enjoy the children and families we serve, the foster parents we license and train, the other social workers and therapists, as well the office and administrative staff.
The employees here create an environment of support, understanding and compassion. The work is challenging, the work ethic is high and the support to manage stressful situations is incredible. Community Care Resources is dedicated to providing the best care possible to children and families and the people playing each role in that journey are of equal value and importance. I hope to continue on with CCR for many years to come.
Jayne Foster, LCSW
6 Case Managers with an incredible 80 years of combined service and dedication to one foster agency!!
Employee turnover is so low here at Community Care Resources, some of our foster parents have had the same caseworker for over 20 years! What a great problem to have. The six case managers highlighted in the video above have an incredible 80 years of combined service with us. It is a remarkably high number and we attribute it to the value we place on each individual employee. By offering an attractive work-life balance we are able to keep stress levels low and job satisfaction high. In addition to the women highlighted above, there are a dozen more employees with similar years of service, many over twenty years. Employee retention is just one aspect that separates us from other Wisconsin foster agencies! Our Clinical Case Managers average 14 years of employment with us! This is just one reason Wisconsin families choose to become a foster parent with us.
Employee retention is important to the kids. They deserve the opportunity to build trusting relationships with their case manager.
Many of our kids are in care with us for 18-24 months. Some for much longer depending on permanency goals, aging out of the system timelines and pending adoptions. The children must be able to establish a trusting relationship with their Clinical Case Manager. They meet regularly, once per week and oftentimes, the CCM is the only adult an older youth might connect with. Employee loyalty and longevity benefit everyone, the kids, foster parents, office staff, therapists, and management. CCR is known across the state for outstanding foster care support and therapy services. We have been an example to foster agencies across the state of Wisconsin that high employee retention and satisfaction in the workplace are possible.
Wanda comes to my house every week and I don't know what I would do without her. Her experience working with teen girls has been invaluable to me and my husband.
I couldn't have survived it without my caseworker. He got me to see that I didn't have to be so angry and he helped me let my foster family help me. I was a mess before I met him.
On the flip side, there is a lot of data supporting dissatisfaction and burnout among social workers. The excerpt below was taken from a 2017 Prevention Magazine article and it paints a very grim picture:
Social workers have an emotionally intense job coupled with crushing caseloads and very little supervision and support. The workload is hefty: Social workers are often scheduled back to back with clients and lunch breaks are not part of their vocabulary. They serve the neediest populations and often take on their client's woes in a process referred to as vicarious trauma, so it's really no surprise that roughly 75% of social workers experience burnout—or excessive demands on their energy, strength, or resources—at some point in their careers.
75% experience burnout? That is remarkable and not good for the children or their foster parents.
Below are some factors that may increase stress and burnout for caseworkers in foster care:
Changes within the organization (staff, policies, etc.)
Inadequate or ineffective supervision
High caseloads - More than 18-20 kids
Increased work demands due to brief and/or long term staff vacancies
Lack of adequate support from agency supervisory staff
Case crises / Lacking support
High profile / traumatic case
Lack of community resources for clients
Getting behind in documentation paperwork
We are proud that NOT ONE of the above factors plays a part in employee retention at Community Care Resources!
We make great efforts to support our Case Managers on a daily basis and not one of our caseworkers has more than 15 children on their caseload. Of course, we cannot divulge all the amazing ways in which we support our employees but we can tell you, there is not an agency in Wisconsin like CCR. Interested in learning more about fostering with us? Get answers on how to become a foster parent.
Our staff is located throughout the state of Wisconsin. All staff is available to tend to the needs of families and children in a timely manner. A typical day involves home visits, texts, emails and phone calls to stay in touch, offer support, problem solve, and continue to develop more effective skills and practices. Weekly, in-home visits are imperative to successful placements. The one on one time between the case manager and foster parent is invaluable. We cannot forget to mention our 24/7 hotline. Case managers rotate the management of the hotline so our foster parents can speak with a qualified Clinical Case Manager at any time of day.
We are so proud of our staff and we value their dedication, professionalism, and love for what they do.
We are a TEAM. We are a FAMILY. We are DEDICATED. If you are considering becoming a treatment foster parent or exploring the idea of changing agencies, please contact us. We are a statewide agency, with foster families in 34 counties. It does not matter what county you live in when choosing us, we will provide in-home services to you and support you throughout your journey. We promise.
Please call 800-799-0450