Predicting Retention for a Diverse and Inclusive Child Welfare Workforce

Wendy Zeitlin, Catherine Kenny Lawrence, Salvador Armendariz, Kira Chontow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Retaining staff remains a challenge for public and private child welfare organizations, and current research does not explain the underrepresentation of workers of Color in leadership and supervisory positions. This study used data from a multi-site survey of child welfare staff to compare factors associated with intention to remain employed between caseworkers of Color and White caseworkers using path analysis. Factors associated with job satisfaction, the strongest predictor of intention to remain employed for both groups in our path analysis, differed slightly between workers of Color and White workers. Age and job stress were significantly more influential for workers of Color, while work related burnout was more more influential for White workers. For workers of Color, perception of leadership was significantly more influential on workers’ of Color intention to remain employed, compared to White workers, and having an MSW was a significant predictor of intent to remain employed for White workers, but not for workers of Color. Implications for agency practice and policy, including suggested strategies to address retention of workers at the caseworker level, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-27
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Service Organizations Management, Leadership and Governance
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Workforce/Workplace issues in human service organizations
  • child welfare
  • diversity
  • intentions to remain employed
  • job satisfaction
  • leadership


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