Child Protection Caseworker Support is a podcast series by the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, launched in 2019. In the series, Dr. Jessica Pryce, Director of the Institute, sits down with child welfare professionals to discuss and offer guidance on a variety of issues pertinent to the field.
Producer: Marianna Tutwiler
Sound Engineer: Aaron Kudja
Episode 1: How do I balance the multiple priorities and decisions in my work?
Dina Wilke, Ph.D., FSU College of Social Work View Bio
Timothy Morris, Child Protective Investigator, DCF View Bio
“From a research perspective, we’re learning that there’s a lot of workers who are experiencing challenges and that there are resources available to tap into. We’re trying to get a better handle on what are the most important things that organizations can try to support their workers in the most effective way possible.” —Wilke
This episode discusses the child welfare workforce—what it is like to work in the system with families in crisis while managing and juggling competing priorities and decisions. Listen to Dr. Dina Wilke, a child welfare workforce researcher and Timothy Morris, a child protective investigator, discuss the “impossible imperative”. They speak frankly about caseload severity, challenges in decision making, and distinguishing between present danger and impending danger. Some suggestions for self-care are also offered.
Episode 2: How do I use “courageous conversations” to improve the quality of supervision?
Cynthia Lietz, Ph.D. LCSW View Bio
“I encourage transparent and open conversation. People long for feedback, some research suggests that people would rather have negative feedback than no feedback at all.” —Lietz
Listen to Dr. Cynthia Lietz, developer of the strength-based supervision model, share strategies for both supervisors and front-line case workers to engage in “courageous conversations”. Utilizing both crisis supervision opportunities and scheduled in-depth supervision meetings can improve the supervisor-direct report relationship and thus case management practices and outcomes.
Episode 3: How do I use Motivational Interviewing to motivate parents on my caseload?
Therese Skubic Kemper, Associate Director, Psychology Clinic View Bio
Necia Little, Operations Program Administrator, DCF View Bio
“Motivational Interviewing is a goal oriented, collaborative, conversation about change. It is most useful when people are ambivalent. That is, they want to change, they have reasons to change, and simultaneously, they don’t want to change and change is difficult and they see reasons not to change.” —Kemper
Listen in to learn how to use the tenants of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to engage parents who are ambivalent about changing their behavior. Using the “Spirit” of MI will help you build a collaborative relationship as well as compassion for the families you work with.
Episode 4: How do I identify and help clients with depression?
Kim Purinton, Clinical Training Manager, Sunshine Health View Bio
“The best thing that that you can do is come in hoping you can bring fresh eyes and fresh ears to the situation and keep an open mind with the goal of “how can I help the person?” ” —Purinton
Join Kim Purinton and Dr. Pryce as they discuss how maternal depression can affect a mother’s relationship with her child. You will also learn the different behaviors that may indicate that the parent is struggling with depression.
Episode 5: Improve collaboration with agencies for cases involving child maltreatment and IPV
“Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) service providers need to understand that child welfare workers work in very large bureaucracies, things tend to move slowly, they’re beholden to very strict policies, and so they may not have as much leeway sometimes as IPV workers do. We are talking about the foundation for communication; literally just talking to each other.” —Magruder
Listen to a victim advocate and researcher discuss the co-occurrence of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence and provide concrete recommendations on ways you can improve your collaborations with other community professionals on cases that involve both.
Episode 6: Interpreting between Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, and Vicarious Trauma
April Lott, President, Directions for Living View Bio
“I get particularly interested in correcting people who are using the terms burnout interchangeably with compassion fatigue. We have incorrectly suggested to our young child welfare professionals that perhaps this isn’t the job for them. When nothing could be further from the truth.” —Lott
The emotional and psychological risks associated with providing direct social work services to vulnerable populations are real. But they are referred to by so many different labels. What’s the difference between burnout, compassion fatigue, and having vicarious trauma? April Lott explains the correct terminology and provides suggestions on how to protect yourself and heal.
Episode 7: Youth Perspective on Child Welfare
Terri, Florida Youth Leadership Academy (FYLA) About FYLA
“Seeing my sibling was very important, but support is needed afterwards because of the memories of whatever has happened in the past. The support afterwards is the main thing that I think just about every child needs.” —Terri
Hear Terri’s wise offerings of advice based on her experiences as a teenager currently in the system. Her suggestions seem simple and logical, but all too often are infrequently used in our interactions with children and youth with whom we work.
Episode 8: Racial Equity: Taking the Blinders Off
Corey Best View Bio
“My preferred method is to feel the angst, the tension, and the emotional strings and confront racism head-on. First, by acknowledging our fears about people’s otherness.” —Corey Best
What does it mean to be color conscious? Corey Best helps us understand how our own biases and beliefs about individuals can be in conflict with personal and organizational values. Putting the facts in context of the family and community strengths and resources is necessary to reach the best decision for the child.