Foster Care

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Listening To the Voices of Children in Foster Care:

Youths Speak Out about Child Welfare

Lyndsay M.

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Children in Foster Care Speak Up
Identifying the Authors 
Sharon Kollar, Jessica Strolin-Golzman and Joann Trinkle wrote a journal entry titled, “Listening to Voice of Children in Foster Care: Youths speak out about child welfare workforce turnover and selection.” It was published in the Oxford University Press in New York, on January 2010. The article was in Volume 55 Issue 1. It was found by using ProQuest Social Science Journals. It was rewritten for the youth who do not always have a say in the process they go through. Abstract

Focus on the statistics through both a private and public perspective. Child Welfare workforce turnover rates are to be estimated between 23 to 60 percent annually, per year and the higher rate of 60 percent effected public welfare workforce turnover rates since 2000. A ‘High Turnover Rate’ is defined as, “an annual turnover rate exceeding 25 percent” and on an average “agencies are ranged from 27 to 94 percent” (New York State off of Children and Family Services Bureau of Training, 2004). The turnover rates across all the states regarding Child welfare workforce has become alarming and concerning for both the professionals and clients. Because the majority of the clients personal experiences and voices are not listened too, two New York Social Workers, Kollar, Strolin-Golzman, and Trinkle conducted a study (In New York) which included three themes; 1.” Explore the experiences and opinions about child welfare workforce turnover and retention of youths in the child welfare system,   2.  Explore relationship between the number of caseworkers a youth has had and his or her number of foster care placements,   3.To harness the suggestions of youths in resolving the turnover program” (Kollar, Strolin-Golzman, Trinkle 47).  The efforts of this study could be so the client’s voices were not only listened too but also heard. The participants of this study were broken down into two focus groups allowing the client to speak their mind freely. The focus of this study was a determination to validate the results causing a spark in change to the turnover rate.

Demographic Study
Focus groups were conducted with 25 youths in the child welfare system. Data was collected in two focus groups made up of 12 and 13 participates each (Kollar, Strolin-Golzman, Trinkle 48). Before participating in the survey the participates were asked to complete a survey asking about the length and time in the child welfare system, number of placements, number of caseworkers, current placement, race and age. Both parents and the identified participates were required to sign a consent form despite only having the youths participate in the groups. The test lasted roughly one and one-half hour long. “The average of the 25 participates are 17.6 years, 4.4% of placements (not including independent living), 36% were independent living, 8.5 years in child welfare system. 40% of the participates were African American, 24% two or more races, 20% Caucasian and 12% Latino” (Kollar, Strolin-Golzman, Trinkle 48). Focus Groups

A “focus group” is defined as an open group using a questioning survey, and it having three open ended questions about turnovers and retention. Typical questions would ask if they had more than one caseworker and feelings surrounding the stated issue and/or how it affected the individual. If the individual only had one caseworker the question would be rephrased asking about their feelings regarding the worker as well as their ideas for how to retain workers. At the end of the study caseworks were able to view three reasons for a high turnover rate. The identifiers highlighted were lack of stability, loss of trust, and second chances. During the process nine participants felt the stability was important because of the “constant changing of caseworks” (Kollar,...
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