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Finding time to sift through research and read up on the important topics and trends impacting human services is easier said than done. That’s why we’re here to help. Our Research Library includes expert content—think whitepapers, reports, presentations, news articles, and other resources—to help you implement the right tools and technology for your agency, and discover new ways to overcome challenges.

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Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

The Era of Compliance-Driven Busywork [The Chronicle of Social Change]

Child welfare is in an era of compliance-driven busywork, says The Chronicle of Social Change contributor Vivek Sankaran. Administrative work overshadows the human element of child welfare—the ability to really understand and empathize with each family and their unique situation.

Full summary:

Family assessments. Case plans. Court reviews. Child studies.

As much time as we know frontline child welfare workers want to spend with families, the unfortunate reality is they’re often forced to focus on administrative work. Similarly, agency leadership that wants to ensure positive outcomes for kids in their workers’ care has to spend time on compliance-driven activities instead.

One recent retention survey from Colorado State University notes workers spend 38% of their time on these types of tasks, while we’ve heard anecdotally the number can climb as high as 70%.

Contributor Vivek Sankaran sums up the problem in his recent column for The Chronicle of Social Change, “Your Crisis Can Wait Until Noon:”

“While we know that the foundation of our success lies in forming authentic relationships with families—which requires engagement, trust, and listening, all time-consuming activities—our work has been dominated by the need for accountability, data and outcomes.

Judges, caseworkers and lawyers are constantly rushing from one task to another, driven by a need to tend to different federal and state reporting requirements. Complying with a federal consent decree. Passing a Child and Family Services Review, a federal assessment of foster care and adoption services. Ensuring adherence to Title IV-E requirements. We are in the era of compliance-driven busywork.”

As Vivek notes, paperwork and reporting tend to overshadow the human element of child welfare—the ability to really understand and empathize with each family and their unique situation.

Agencies need newer, better tools to be more efficient when completing these types of compliance-driven activities that, while necessary, stand in the way of doing high-value work with families.

That’s why we’re so committed to developing technology that empowers child welfare workers to do the job they were hired to do: spend as much time as possible out of the office engaging with families.

If we work together, we can bring an end to what Vivek accurately calls an “era of compliance-driven busywork.”

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