Washington CASA Association is a network of 13 local programs in Washington state serving 14 counties. Through our valued membership with National CASA/GAL, we belong to a network of 950 community-based programs nationwide, that recruit, screen, train, and support court-appointed special advocate (CASA) and guarian ad litem (GAL) volunteers. Those advocates are volunteers, just like you, who stand up and speak out to help children experiencing abuse and neglect.
Reunification is the most common, and, most desired permanency goal for children in foster care. Keeping families together is better for the children, whenever safely possible. It is the first and best option. Find out more.
Court Appointed Special Advocate® (CASA) and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers advocate on behalf of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Their best-interest advocacy helps ensure that children are safe, have a permanent home and have the opportunity to thrive.
Fundraisers, events and pre-service training help us raise awareness and generate crucial resources in support of children experiencing abuse and neglect. Join us at our next event and see how you can get involved.
Our volunteers make a life-changing difference for children. Find out how to become a CASA/GAL volunteer.
Early childhood home visiting programs support pregnant women and families with young children so they can be healthy, safe, and better prepared to reach their goals. The success of these programs is dependent upon recruiting and retaining a skilled, committed, and satisfied workforce. This brief summarizes findings from the Home Visiting Career Trajectories study—a national study of the home visiting workforce—on workplace factors in recruiting and retaining qualified staff.
Primary Research Questions
What are the characteristics of home visitors and their supervisors, including their demographics, qualifications, and employment history?
What are the characteristics of home visiting jobs, including schedules, compensation, and benefits?
What factors contribute to the recruitment and retention of home visitors?
A stable and well-trained workforce is a critical part of effective home visiting program implementation. To support MIECHV awardees, local programs, and home visiting model developers recruit, train, and retain qualified staff, more information is needed on the career pathways and work experiences of home visitors and their supervisors.
This brief presents findings from a national descriptive study of the home visiting workforce in local agencies receiving MIECHV funding with a focus on the workplace factors that relate to home visitor recruitment and retention.
Key Findings and Highlights
Analyses of case study data point to the following key findings:
Home visitors reported that a flexible agency culture contributes to successful recruitment and hiring practices. Key informants suggested that implementing innovative practices to identify candidates who are a good fit for the job can, in turn, promote retention.
Home visitors identified several workplace features that boost morale and make them feel valued, including collegiality, mutual trust, autonomy, and flexibility. Home visitors indicated that rigid environments (e.g., inflexibility with regard to teleworking, schedules, etc.) contributed to job dissatisfaction.
Home visitors repeatedly cited supervisory support—both in the forms of reflective supervision and more informal gestures, such as workplace incentives—as a key factor in home visitors’ decisions to remain in their job.
The project includes two major components: (1) a two-stage national survey of the home visiting workforce in local implementing agencies (LIAs) receiving funding from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, and (2) case studies in eight states involving interviews with program leaders and supervisory staff, as well as focus groups with home visitors in 26 LIAs.
Findings for this brief draw primarily on case study findings.
Benatar, Sarah, Amelia Coffey, and Heather Sandstrom. 2020. How Workplace Supports Relate to Home Visitor Recruitment and Retention. OPRE Report #2020-97. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Early childhood home visiting: a service delivery strategy for achieving greater child and family health and well-being. Local home visiting programs connect new and expecting parents with a designated support person—a trained nurse, social worker, parent educator, or early childhood specialist—who provides services in the home. Services generally consist of screening, case management, family support or counseling, and caregiver skills training.
Local implementing agency (LIA): a local organization, such as a community action agency, community nonprofit, or public health or education department, that receives funding to implement home visiting services under MIECHV. States, territories, and tribes work with LIAs to train a high-quality home visiting workforce, establish data reporting and financial accountability systems, and develop recruitment and referral networks.
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program: administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families, the MIECHV Program was established in 2010 to support voluntary, evidence-based home visiting for at-risk pregnant women and parents with children up to kindergarten entry. The program provides grants to states, US territories, and tribes, which conduct needs assessments to identify eligible at-risk communities and serve priority populations.
As the US economy shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state administrators for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)—the nation’s primary program for helping families with low incomes meet basic needs while supporting their transition to economic mobility through work opportunities—faced new challenges operating the program and meeting their clients’ needs. For families previously or newly receiving TANF, the pandemic made it harder to meet the work and activity requirements necessary to continue receiving benefits. Many state TANF administrators and agencies responded to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders by adjusting their policies to meet their states’ and families’ unique situations, needs, and challenges. In this brief, we describe how some of these agencies adapted their policies during the early months of the pandemic.
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides child care subsidies to families with low incomes, helping them access affordable child care so that parents can work or participate in education or other approved activities. State agencies administering CCDF programs need estimates of how many families are eligible for assistance to help in planning and to understand what portion of program-eligible families are receiving subsidies.
One tool for estimating the number of families eligible for CCDF is microsimulation. Using the ATTIS microsimulation model, we apply Wisconsin’s actual CCDF eligibility policies to the families in the 2014 through 2018 American Community Survey data. We estimate that in Wisconsin, 175,500 children in 100,300 families are eligible to participate in CCDF in the average month. Those numbers suggest that about 18 percent of eligible children and 19 percent of eligible families received subsidies.
We also estimated eligibility in each of 31 substate areas in Wisconsin. Across the state, 19 percent of all the children in the age range for CCDF are eligible for CCDF-subsidized child care, but that varies from a low of 7 percent in the Moraine Lakes Urban area to a high of 30 percent in Milwaukee. State administrators can use the substate eligibility estimates to better understand cross-state variations in eligibility and program reach.
Commissioner Hovland: A Force For Change Over The Past Two Years
Google is rolling out a new accessibility feature that will generate a tagged PDF document when you use Chrome to generate your PDF files.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is the primary way children in early care and education settings are fed, yet child care program closures related to COVID-19 left many young children across the country without the food they depend on. Even as many states reopen child care, the crisis is expected to continue and the probability that at least some programs will close again after reopening is likely. This brief focuses on what we know about whether and how young children were fed during program closures, as well as barriers that programs faced in ensuring vulnerable children and families were able to access meals. Experts from across the field weighed in on the challenges of feeding young children amid a pandemic and the implications for policy changes and best practices to ensure that young children’s nutritional needs are met in the current crisis and to build a more resilient system moving forward.
This appendix describes the data and methodology used to estimate federal program and tax expenditures on children in Kids’ Share 2020: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2019 and Future Projections.
Public spending on children is an investment in the nation’s future, as it aims to support their healthy development and human potential. To inform policymakers, children’s advocates, and the general public about how public funds are spent on children, this 14th edition of the annual Kids’ Share report provides an updated analysis of federal expenditures on children from 1960 to 2019. This year’s Kids’ Share report also provides a baseline view of public expenditures before the COVID-19 pandemic. Our projections of federal expenditures on children through 2030 give a sense of how budget priorities were scheduled to unfold under the law before the pandemic and related economic and legislative responses. View a single-page formatted version of the report with text and charts side-by-side here.
A few highlights of the chartbook:
Federal expenditures per child were slightly higher in 2019 than in recent years, after adjusting for inflation. In 2019, the federal government spent about $6,700 per child younger than 19. The increase primarily reflects some delayed effects of the temporary expansion of the child tax credit enacted in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017.
As a share of federal spending, the $408 billion invested in children in 2019 remained at roughly 9 percent of all federal outlays for the second year in a row.
As a share of the economy, federal investments in children represented 1.9 percent of GDP, similar to last year but lower than other years in the past decade.
The child tax credit was the largest source of federal support for children in 2019, surpassing Medicaid, which had been the largest program for many years. More than three-fifths of federal expenditures on children are from tax provisions or health spending.
The share of federal expenditures on children targeted to families with low incomes has grown over time, reaching 57 percent in 2019.
Under prepandemic law, children’s programs are projected to receive only two cents of every dollar of the projected $1.6 trillion increase in federal spending over the next decade.
Under prepandemic law, children’s share of the federal budget is projected to drop from 9.2 percent to 7.3 percent over the next decade, as built-in spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest payments on the debt consume a growing share of the budget.
The federal government spends nearly as much on interest payments on the debt as on children.
Over the next decade, all categories of spending on children except health are projected to decline relative to GDP. Most categories also see declines or remain at similar levels in real dollars.
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