Retaining novices to become expert child protection practitioners: Creating career pathways in direct practice

Karen Healy*, Gabrielle Meagher, Joel Cullin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In many post-industrial countries, concerns have been raised about high turnover of professional staff and the high proportion of novice practitioners on the frontline in child protection agencies. High turnover imposes costs on individual practitioners, employing organizations, service users (particularly vulnerable children) and society more broadly. We analyze the views of employers, policy makers and researchers in Australia, England and Sweden about factors contributing to high turnover at the frontline. We find that a combination of retention disincentives (push factors) and alternative career opportunities (pull factors) contributes to high turnover among frontline practitioners. Based on these findings, we propose a strategy for enhancing workforce retention at the frontline in child protection. The strategy involves creation of a career pathway that enables, and encourages, novice child protection workers to become advanced practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-317
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

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